"Our Care, Our Choice" bill is one signature away from becoming law

KITV - March 19, 2018
Brenton Awa

It's a measure known under names - assisted suicide, aid in dying, the right to die, death with dignity and now “Our Care, Our Choice”, the measure in 2018 that's gone beyond all of those before.

“People are suffering. We have seen our family members, we have been caregivers, we have seen colleagues, it’s not an easy decision, it’s a personal one,” Sen. Donna Mercado Kim said.

The bill would allow Hawaii residents with a medically confirmed terminal disease and less than six months to live, to get help with dying via a prescription for medication.

Standing between it and the Governor - a full Senate vote.

"We often say no legislation is perfect but the one piece of legislation respectfully, that must be perfect is this one,” Sen. Josh Green said.

Green is providing a doctor’s point of view and says it was the most complicated issue they've dealt with. He pointed out the bill’s flaws and called for more work to be done on it prior to voting for it.

Those against it, worry suicide rates will go up and death certificates could be falsified.

"What message are we sending to the people, especially impressionable youth,” Sen. Breene Harimoto said.

"I've heard repeatedly it’s all about choice, people should have that choice. the reality is people already have that choice,” Sen. Mike Gabbard said.

Some lawmakers say they've been working to get to this point for nearly two decades. And many agreed it’s time.

"There is no reason to deny to others the freedom to live and to die as we choose,” Sen. Russell Ruderman said.

One senator said it was the hardest single issue ever brought in front of him. Another, brought to tears...

"I think before you judge, people should have that right to decide, we're not forcing anybody,” Mercado Kim said.

The final Senate vote was 23-to-2.

"I think we've done a solid job, so we're very hopeful that the governor will sign it,” Rep. Della Au Belatti said.