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Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 5:13 AM HST

State says physician-assisted suicide illegal

By Associated Press

The state attorney general's office says a century-old law meant to ease suffering of Hansen's disease patients does not make physician-assisted suicide legal in Hawaii.

On Tuesday state Sen. Josh Green sought clarification of the 1909 law because of reports supporters of physician-assisted suicide were looking for a patient willing to test the statute.

The Dec. 8 opinion says, "A physician who provided such assistance could be charged under Hawaii's manslaughter statute."

The Hawaii Death with Dignity Society last month said it found a physician willing to provide a lethal dose of barbiturates to help a terminally ill patient die.

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington and Montana. A proposal before the Hawaii Legislature to make it legal in the islands stalled last year.

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