July 2017 UPDATE
After a decade without a serious hearing at the legislature, our bill (SB1129 “Medical Aid in Dying“) quickly passed the Senate Health and Judiciary Committees and then by the full Senate with only two “no” votes. After crossing over to the House, our bill was heard but was sadly “deferred” until 2018 by the House Health Committee. NOTE: You may view the entire House Health Committee hearing HERE.
The good new is, we do not need to start all over in 2018 and we will pick up exactly where we left off with the House Health Committee when the 2018 Legislative session reconvenes in January. Mahalo to the literally hundreds of community supporters who worked to move it this far, this fast. We could never have done this without your dedication, commitment and hard work.
SO WHAT HAPPENED? Many are asking why our bill was so unceremoniously deferred after the Senate had passed it 22-3. Even those of us who were there “in the room” for the entire process remain baffled. Suffice to say, the Catholic Church and the other Conservative Christian organizations were responsible. Even though the supportive testimony outnumbered those opposing, the Conservative Christians (this time in blue shirts) again dominated the hearing room which obviously swayed the Health Committee. Our supporters were wearing yellow.
Also know that there was a last-minute reorganization of the House leadership and our bill’s champion, House Speaker Joe Souki was deposed at the very moment he could have made a difference. As I write, there’s a groundswell of grassroots political activity especially from the Democratic Party of Hawaii and we will keep you informed as this all evolves. People of all political persuasions are angry and frustrated by the obvious failure of leadership in government at all levels.
I’ve posted many of the media stories related to this growing dissatisfaction with the Democratic House leadership HERE. Be aware that I am also the Chair of the Kupuna Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i. Physician Aid In dying was and remains the Party’s #1 legislative priority.
WHAT’S NEXT? If you are not already on our email list, please join us by using the easy opt-in (in the right column on a computer or at the bottom of your smart phone screen). Since 2002, our work to pass a Death With Dignity law in Hawai`i has been supported by the generous assistance of the Death With Dignity National Center (DWDNC) in Portland Oregon. The documented “80%” public approval in Hawai`i did not just happen; it was because of our ability to keep the issue in the public eye for over two decades and we can thank the DWDNC for this dramatic impact on local public opinion. Read the June 7, 2017 poll HERE.
If you’re in a position to send a donation of any amount, please consider helping to fund our work. Either use the “Donate” button qt the right on our Web site (or below if viewing on a SmartPhone) or you may snail mail your check to our national partnering organization:
The Death With Dignity National Center
520 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 1220
Portland, Oregon 97204
Mahalo! for your dedication and support over these many years. Regards – Scott Foster
P.S. The long effort to pass a Hawai`i Physicians Aid In Dying bill in 2017 has been greatly enhanced by a series of supportive broadcast and published media stories. Check them out in our Media Archive.
Navigating The Journey is a live weekly broadcast with host Marsha Joyner that explores the options and choices of end-of-life issues from religious, cultural, medical and legal perspectives. The shows are archived for later viewing on YouTube.