HONOLULU – Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed a bill legalizing medically assisted suicide.
Ige signed the bill Thursday, making Hawaii the sixth liberal-leaning state plus Washington, D.C., to legalize the practice.
Ige said the measure gives full control to terminally ill patients. He says everyone knows their loved ones will eventually die, but they don’t need to suffer.
The law allows doctors to fulfill requests from terminally ill patients for prescription medication that will allow them to die. The legislation includes safeguards intended to prevent abuse.
The other states that allow medically assisted suicide are California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.
Montana doesn’t have a specific law on the books, but the state Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that doctors could use a patient’s request for life-ending medication as a defense against criminal charges.