AG denounces Aid in Dying ad
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The commercial claims patients with a terminal illness can get a prescription from their doctor to end suffering.
"Words matter. And the choice of a dying patient for a peaceful death is no kind of suicide," said Kathryn Tucker, Compassion & Choices legal affairs director said.
The nationwide non-profit created the ad that asserts that Hawaii has an open process that allows aid in dying, a practice that's legal in four states.
"What they're saying is false, misleading and deceptive," state Attorney General David Louie said.
He calls it assisted suicide and promises if a Hawaii patient follows through, the physician could be charged under Hawaii's manslaughter statute, and under the statute that addresses the improper issuing of prescription drugs.
"Relieving of pain, that's a legitimate medical purpose," Louie said. "But killing somebody to ostensibly relieve pain, that's not legitimate.
Tucker said the U.S. Supreme Court ruled aid in dying can be a "legitimate medical practice." She said Hawaii law states that it's a crime to "cause" a suicide.
"If it got to trial the possibility of a jury convicting a physician who is prescribing medication so that a dying patient can achieve a peaceful death is virtually nil," she said.
Louie said her assertions are untrue.
"Not only is it pushing the boundaries, it's crossing the boundaries. This is illegal activity in Hawaii. There's no question about it," he said. "If these people want to go to the legislature and try and convince the legislators to legalize this, that's a route available to them."
"I guess I would turn the question back on the Attorney General and say, 'If you want to see this practice outlawed why don't you enact a statute that does that?'" Tucker said.
To learn more about Compassion & Choices ad campaign in Hawaii go to www.compassionandchoices.org.
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