Hawaii legalizes assisted suicide: Refusing to refer for suicide may incur legal liability

Sean Murphy*

Assisted suicide will become legal in Hawaii on 1 January, 2019, as a result of the passage of the Our Care, Our Choice Act. Introduced in the state House of Representatives only in January, it passed both the House and Senate and was approved by Governor David Ige on 5 April. Beginning next year, physicians will be able to write prescriptions for lethal medications for Hawaiian residents who are capable of informed consent, who are at least 18 years old, and who have been diagnosed with a terminal, incurable disease expected to result in death within six months.1

And beginning next year, Hawaiian physicians who refuse to facilitate assisted suicide by referring patients to a willing colleague may face discipline — including expulsion from the medical profession — or other legal liabilities. Hawaii could become one of only two jurisdictions in the world where willingness to refer patients for suicide is a condition for practising medicine.2 . . . [Full text]

Hawaii cited as model of possible compromise in birth control insurance controversy

A Hawaiian law concerning insurance for contraceptive coverage has been cited as a model for a possible compromise between the Obama administration and religious groups that have made clear that they will resist or refuse to obey its new birth control regulation.  Organizations in Hawaii that object to contraception for religious reasons may decline to provide health insurance coverage for it if they advise employees that it is not available and tell them where coverage can be obtained.  It is reported that it is generally successful, but that there are some problems with the arrangement. [NCR]