Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Health care professionals are trained to “first do no harm.” In end-of-life treatment, that simple directive can be difficult to interpret. A growing movement to provide patients help in dying has been termed “death with dignity” and “assisted suicide.” Federal law does not address euthanasia and mercy killings in terminal patients; the right of a patient to obtain a prescription to terminate life is established by state law.

This dataset explores which states have enacted death with dignity legislation, which outlaw physician-assisted suicide, which make the practice criminal and which are considering changes to current state policy legalizing the practice under certain circumstances.