Today’s announcement of the most recent Hawaii poll regarding Death With Dignity should come as no surprise to Hawaii’s citizens. See: http://www.deathwithdignityhawaii.org/

According to the latest poll, registered voters in Hawaii support proposed Death with Dignity legislation by an overwhelming 71 percent, the same high level of support found in a similar poll when the bill was introduced one year ago. Both surveys were conducted by Q-Mark Research & Polling of Honolulu.

This poll is particularly telling as it comes only days after the end of a massive media campaign against the proposal paid for by well-funded local and mainland right-to-life organizations.

Sadly, however, the right-to-life media campaign seems to have had an effect on the Legislature. With time running out, no hearings are scheduled in either the House or Senate for the current bill.

This will be a defining year for the Hawaii Legislature on this timely issue.

The governor’s Blue-Ribbon Panel On Living and Dying supported the issue in 1998, and Death With Dignity legislation was first introduced in 1999 and came within three votes of passing during the 2002 session.

Similar legislation is now being considered in Vermont and Arizona. See:

http://timesargus.nybor.com/Search/Categories/Article/60066 and http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/46leg/1r/bills/hb2454p%2Ehtm&DocType=B

The issue is supported in Hawaii by a coalition of local organizations including the Hawaii Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Advocates for Consumer Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, Free Thinkers Maui, Hemlock Society Hawaii, Humanists Hawaii, the Kokua Council, and Hawaii Compassion In Dying.

The effort is also supported by many members of Hawaii’s medical and legal communities.

”’Scott Foster is the Communications Director for Death With Dignity Hawaii. He can be reached via email at”’ mailto:fosters005@hawaii.rr.com

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