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Hawaiian Bill to improve access to the death with dignity statute failed

The bill that sought to expand access to medically assisted death in Hawaii failed to advance to a final vote after lawmakers stumbled over the role of advance-practice registered nurses and physician assistants.

Only a month ago, advocates and health care workers supported a new bill, House Bill 1823. This bill was aimed at lowering the barriers to medically assisted suicide by making it easier for  doctors to prescribe medications and lowering wait times.

The measure made it to a conference committee, but lawmakers in the House and Senate could not resolve their differences so it won’t be put to a final vote this week, to the dismay of supporters expecting a legislative victory.

“It’s totally outrageous because the Senate version of the bill and the House version of the bill are identical in substance,” said Sam Trad, who heads the end-of-life options advocacy organization Compassion & Choices Hawaii. “I don’t know why people are passing bills through their committees if they’re not okay with them.”

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