Nation

Doctor-assisted suicide measure advances in Hawaii

HONOLULU — The Hawaii House has approved a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients.

The House’s action on Tuesday sends the measure to the Senate, which last year overwhelmingly approved a similar bill.

The proposal would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to a mentally-capable patient with less than six months to live.

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The patient must be able to take the medication themselves and would be required to undergo a mental health consultation.

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Supporters say the bill has some of the strongest safeguards in the nation, but critics say they want more to improve enforcement and prevent abuse.

Democrat state Rep. Nadine Nakamura, who supports the bill, spoke about the loss of her father and brother.

‘‘In the end, when they could no longer walk and take care of themselves, both wanted the choice to die with dignity,’’ Nakamura said. ‘‘This bill is about giving people a choice.’’

California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia have already legalized medical aid in dying.