Our close relationship with the Oregon-based Death with Dignity National Center dates back to 2002, when we came within three votes of passing our bill through the Hawai`i legislature. That year, on a moment’s notice, the Death with Dignity National Center stepped up to the plate and provided the substantial resources we needed to conduct our near-winning campaign. Since then, their original Oregon bill has become the gold standard for the issue nationally, and the National Center has played a key role in every state that has a Death with Dignity law. We want, and we need, the National Center’s help.
The Death with Dignity National Center has recently made an investment in our local organization. To clear up some confusion, some may recall that, in 2011, another right-to-die group declared that death with dignity was already “legal” in Hawai’i. That group based its erroneous argument upon a little-known 1909 territorial law that predated statehood. After our local organization stepped out of the picture, the Hawai`i Attorney General stepped in, issuing an opinion that writing prescriptions to hasten a competent adult’s impending death was still unlawful in Hawai`i, meaning that that such activity was still a crime. After all that commotion, we find ourselves left to rebuild our statewide organization, and our longtime friends at the Death with Dignity National Center have graciously offered to help us.
We all understand that death with dignity reforms will take time to realize, but with your show of support now, we can begin and ultimately prevail. We are truly grateful for the confidence again being shown by our sister organization in Oregon.
If you believe we need a local organization on the ground with a keen understanding of Hawai`i’s unique population—a local group working to see a Hawai`i Death With Dignity law passed—please support this renewed effort as generously you can.