by Andrew Walden
Mocking the latest poll numbers released by assisted suicide activists, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair Colette Machado is calling assisted suicide an insult to the Hawaiian culture and an insult to the memory of the thousands of patients at Kalaupapa “who fought to live-not die.”
Machado, speaking alongside Martin Luther King Jr's niece Alveda King and former Lt Governor James Duke Aiona, told an audience of 100 at Ko’olau Ballroom Wednesday that the native Hawaiian culture is a pro-life culture. Machado’s remarks came in response to the announcement of Q-Mark poling results by Compassion and Choices Hawaii, an offshoot of the national Hemlock Society founded by Oregon HMO executive Barbara Coombs Lee. C&C’s news release focusing on “End of Life Liberty” is a reflection of the language used by Q-Mark in its latest endeavor to get the pre-determined result demanded by a paying client:
…a poll finding 77% of Hawaii voters support access to aid in dying. The survey showed overwhelming majorities believe self-determination at the end of life is their right, and trust individuals and doctors – not the government – to make decisions about this medical practice. Seventy-seven percent (77%) favor or strongly favor allowing mentally competent adults dying of a terminal disease to ask their doctors to prescribe medication that gives them the peace of mind they can achieve a peaceful death. This level of support is among the highest of any state in the nation.
…there’s this “action Alert” that I got. I’m not sure how I got it but it is from people who do not support our position. They call themselves, “Compassion and Choices Hawaii”. I’m going to tell you how this begins. It says:: “Subject: Hawaii takes action, highest numbers ever--End of life liberty.’”
They have a tendency to tweak these words—“End of Life Liberty.” When you look at “end of life liberty, it gives the appearance that this might be a good thing. But its not.
It says, “End of Life Liberty takes another step towards the Hawaii of tomorrow.” …
“Let me speak from my na’au. I would be offended, and I’m not speaking just as an OHA Trustee. I am the OHA Chair. I am the trustee from Molokai…. Many of you have been to Kalaupapa…. We live in Hawaii. This is the Aloha State….”
“I don’t really hate these people (C&C) but they are hoodwinking our culture. How dare they talk about us? … We do not take this anymore.
Releasing its poll numbers, C&C repeated its claim that assisted suicide is legal in Hawaii. After being trumpeted in late October in the pages of the Star-Advertiser and local TV news programs, this claim was quietly rejected in an opinion written by Hawaii Attorney General Louie in response to a request from Senator Josh Green. In contrast to the widespread coverage given to C&C’s claim that it had “recently unearthed” a 1909 law which assisted suicide activists had been trying to amend for years, Hawai`i Free Press is alone among Hawai`i media in reporting on AG Louie’s opinion.
ABC News October 17 reports:
…the national group, Compassion and Choices, and the Hawai’i Death With Dignity Society, have unearthed a 102-year-old provision in Hawaiian law that they say means aid in dying has been legal all along:
[W]hen a duly licensed physician or osteopathic physician pronounces a person affected with any disease hopeless and beyond recovery and gives a written certificate to that effect to the person affected or the person’s attendant, nothing herein shall forbid any person from giving or furnishing any remedial agent or measure when so requested by or on behalf of the affected person.”
Advocates say the provision was added in 1909 to give dying patients the option to get treatment that may not have been approved by the government. It likely arose out of now- canonized Father Damien’s missionary work on the Island of Molokai with those who suffered from leprosy.
Not satisfied with “it likely arose out of”, local attorney James Hochberg went to the State Archives to read the 1909 testimony and committee reports. Says Hochberg, “I read the whole 23-I think-page report on that trip. There was not one mention of anybody wanting to be killed or to commit suicide. It was all about how do we improve the lives of the people that are suffering in Maui County with the diseases. They wanted more meat. They wanted more fresh eggs. They wanted more things of life. There wasn’t one mention in there at all about ending life.”
As if in response to the suicide activists claiming St Damien for their own, Machado told her audience:
We look back and we can see how important the role of the Catholic Church is not only on Molokai…. Followed by father Damien is also Sister Marianne. She will be recognized very soon. So nowhere on the world will you find two saints on an isolated island as at Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai…. I’m going to have to beat the drum and get everybody rallied up and shaked up….
“Ha’aha’a-Humility. I love that word because without humility we are nothing. I look at the Kalaupapa people. They were exiled. They were treated like no have family. They had their children taken away. Abandoned spirits still exist in that area (Kalaupapa). Because they never could keep their children. They were always taken out….
“From when you’re born to when you hala (die) that is the circle of life…. As the host culture, which is our native Hawaiian culture, I stand before you asking you to adopt or to hanai this approach which is to support life….
“Ue ka lani, ola ka honua.” When the heavens weep, the earth will live.
There is another saying from the movement to regain the ‘olelo Hawaii—the Hawaiian language…. “The Hawaiian language shall live.” “E ‘ola ka olelo Hawai’i.” What I’m getting to is why we use “’ola.” “‘Ola” is the word for “life”….
Life is so important to the ‘aina. I cannot see the 50th state known (for) … “end of life liberty.” It is kind of a double message, right? I cannot see that we would be aligned with the State of Washington and the State of Oregon that support assisted suicide.
When they no longer want to pay for your bill and you’ve reached a higher level of care – they give you a ‘choice’. They will administer ‘an opportunity’ and you can say goodbye. And they control life, not God.
I don’t want this state to … have the image that we don’t care enough about the life that is around us everyday. So I stand before you… I want all of you to have the spirit in you to kahu (lead, guard) and to adopt or hanai this project. You are much needed in a very vulnerable time in our society.
We know what life is and ‘ola is its name…. We want kahu hanai to support life…. and to continue to help our patients in Kalaupapa as they work very diligently to build a memorial to the 6,000 patients placed in a mass grave right where the old Baldwin School was for boys. That’s where they are going to put the memorial.
Kahu is a higher level of leadership. We want to support life.
HFP: Full Text AG Louie: Assisted Suicide Not Legal in Hawaii
HFP: Colette Machado: I look at Kalaupapa--Native Hawaiians will fight against Assisted Suicide
HFP: Secular Humanists push back against St Damien
HFP: Dr Alveda King, Duke Aiona, Colette Machado to Speak up for Religious Freedom
HFP: Hawaii March for Life Jan 22