Where is Death with Dignity legal in the U.S.?

Death with Dignity

Posted on December 04, 2014 by Cindy Phan

Updated 1/19/17

The Death with Dignity National Center has long been working on laws to allow the dying more control of their death and end-of-life decisions. These laws allow terminally-ill, able-minded state residents to request and receive prescription medication to hasten their death. Within the United States, Death with Dignity laws have been officially approved in 5 states, and bills have been submitted in many other to favor physician-assisted death.

States with Approved Death with Dignity laws:

Oregon - approved in 1994, went into effect in 1997; though challenged many times prior to becoming fully effective, "the years of data show the law is safe and utilized the way it's intended with no evidence of a slippery slope for vulnerable Oregonians"

Washington - approved in 2008, went into effect in 2009

Vermont - approved and effective since 2013

California - California’s physician-assisted dying law, ABX2-15 (AB-15), the End of Life Option Act, took effect on June 9, 2016.

Colorado - On November 8, 2016, Colorado voters passed Proposition 106, the End of Life Options Act, at the ballot by 65 to 35 percent (or 2 to 1) margin. The law went into effect on December 16, 2016.

The State of Montana

In December 2009, Montana's Supreme Court decision ruled that nothing within state laws prohibited a physician from honoring a terminally-ill, mentally-competent patient's request to hasten their death by prescribing medication. While Montana still isn't an official state in approval of the Death with Dignity cause, since 2009 many bills have been introduced, however as of late no bills are active in submission.

States with Current Bills Submitted in Favor of Death with Dignity:

Connecticut - House Bill 5326

Hawaii - House Bill 606

Kansas - House Bill 2068

Massachusetts - House Bill 1998

New Hampshire - House Bill 1325

New Jersey - Senate Bill 382 and Assembly Bill 2270

Pennsylvania - Senate Bill 1032

Washington, DC Death with Dignity Action 2015


To understand more about Death with Dignity and what they stand for, you can visit their homepage, or read our existing articles here on Funerals360:

Death with Dignity - Understanding You End-of-Life Rights

Death with Dignity Gains More Attention, Meaning More Control for End-of-Life Decisions