January 26, 2018

Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i today applauded the Hawai‘i State AFL-CIO for passing a resolution calling for lawmakers to enact legislation authorizing medical aid in dying. Medical aid in dying gives mentally capable, terminally ill adults with a prognosis of six months or fewer to live the option to request, obtain and self-ingest medication to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. Prior to this vote, the AFL-CIO had a neutral stance on medical aid in dying.

“This exciting news demonstrates that the local community is moving consistently and decisively to support medical aid in dying as a legitimate end-of-life option for all terminally ill, mentally capable kama‘aina and their families,” Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i Communications Officer Aubrey Hawk said. “We are profoundly grateful to the AFL-CIO for its enlightened leadership in supporting the campaign to authorize medical aid in dying as an option for terminally ill Hawai‘i residents.”

Among the reasons to support medical aid in dying cited in AFL-CIO’s resolution are:

  • Aid in dying has been successfully implemented in Oregon and five other states; as a result, the quality of end-of-life care, pain management and the use of hospice have all greatly improved.
  • Many find comfort and peace of mind in having access to medical aid in dying, even if they do not use this end-of-life care option, knowing they have it if they need it to peacefully end needless suffering.
  • A November 2016 public opinion poll by Anthology found 80 percent of Hawai‘i voters agree with the statement:
  • When a mentally capable adult is dying of a terminal disease that cannot be cured, do you think that this adult should have the legal option to request prescription medicine from their doctor, and use that medication to end their suffering in their final stages of dying?
  • Twenty years of transparent reporting and study of aid-in-dying medical practice in Oregon demonstrates the utility and safety of the option in upholding a patient’s right to self-determination.
  • Well-respected health and medical organizations recognize medical aid in dying as a legitimate, necessary end-of-life option for eligible adults facing an imminent death from a terminal illness, including The American Public Health Association, The American Medical Women’s Association, The American Medical Student Association and The American Academy of Legal Medicine.
  • The Hawai‘i State AFL-CIO believes the choices a person makes at the end of life are inalienably grounded in that individual person’s life experience and values.
  • The Hawai‘i State AFL-CIO believes that the Hawai‘i statute outlawing “assisted suicide” does not include the rational judgment of a psychologically healthy, terminally ill individual facing end-of-life suffering, who asks her physician for the means to die in a humane and dignified manner.

The Hawai‘i State AFL-CIO is a voluntary federation of 73 local affiliate unions and councils in the State whose parent international unions are affiliated at the national level with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). It is one of 51 state federations operating under a charter granted by the AFL-CIO.

“We look forward to working with the Hawai‘i State AFL-CIO to help continue to educate kama‘aina about end-of-life care options; to mobilize the overwhelming support of Hawai‘i residents for medical aid in dying; and to convince the Legislature that 2018 is the year Hawai‘i should join six other states and the District of Columbia in making medical aid in dying available for those who seek this option,” Hawk concluded.

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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