Map Options

Color Scheme:
Map Type:
Download SVG:
map placeholder
District of Columbia
New Jersey
New Mexico

Assisted Suicide States 2024

Assisted Suicide States 2024

Assisted suicide, also called physician-assisted suicide or medical aid in dying, allows someone to take their own life with someone else's assistance, usually a doctor. Assisted suicide occurs when someone helps a person with a terminal illness, such as cancer, take their own life to avoid suffering.

Death with Dignity Laws

States that allow assisted suicide have death with dignity laws. These states are also called "right to die states.

States with these laws make it legal for adults with terminal illnesses to receive prescription medication to assist in their death. Some conditions must be met

  • Patient must be a mentally competent adult
  • Patient must have been given six months or less to live because of a terminal illness
  • Two physicians must confirm the patient's residency, diagnosis, prognosis, mental competence, and voluntariness of the request.
  • There are two required waiting periods: one between the oral requests and the second between receiving and filling the prescription.

Assisted suicide is controversial because it raises questions surrounding ethics and religious beliefs. People who believe that suicide is a sin due to their religion, for example, may be against assisted suicide, even if the terminally ill patient faces extreme pain and suffering. Supporters of assisted suicide believe that it is up to the individual to decide their death, not the government or religious institutions and their ideologies.

States that Allow Assisted Suicide

In the United States, federal law allows states to make their own choices regarding assisted suicide. Because of its controversial nature, it comes as no surprise that assisted suicide is illegal in most states. However, assisted suicide is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia:

In these states, it is legal for terminally ill patients to receive lethal medication from their doctors. Additionally, in Montana, there is currently no death with dignity statute; however, the end-of-life option is legal through a State Supreme Court ruling. In New Mexico, a judge ruled that patients have to receive a lethal dose of medication if they are terminally ill.

Oregon was the first state to have a passed ballot measure to allow assisted suicide in 1997. New Mexico was the most recent to pass legislation in 2021.

Requirements for Assisted Suicide

In states that allow for assisted suicide, the requirements are similar. In all nine states and the District of Columbia, the patient must be at least eighteen years of age, a resident of the state, and have six months or fewer until their expected death.

Patients are also required to make multiple requests to their physician to go forward with the path of medical aid in dying. In most states, this requires two oral requests fifteen days apart and one written request. Oregon does not put a time requirement between the two oral requests and Hawaii requires 20 days between the two oral requests. New Mexico only requires the patient to complete one written request on a state-provided form.

Assisted Suicide States 2024

Download Table Data

Enter your email below, and you'll receive this table's data in your inbox momentarily.

Minimum Age
Months until Expected Death
Physician Requests Required
Date Authorized
Effective Date
Legalizing Act
California18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 15 days apart) and one writtenOct. 2015June 2016California End of Life Option ActLegislature
Colorado18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 15 days apart) and one writtenNov. 2016Dec. 2016Colorado End of Life Options ActBallot
District of Columbia18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 15 days apart) and one writtenDec. 2016Feb. 2017D.C. Death With Dignity ActLegislature
Hawaii18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 20 days apart) and one writtenApr. 2018Jan. 2019Hawai‘i Our Care, Our Choice ActLegislature
Maine18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 20 days apart) and one writtenJune 2019Sept. 2019Maine Death With Dignity ActLegislature
Montanano legal protocolno legal protocolno legal protocolDec. 2009Dec. 2009Baxter V. MontanaCourts
New Jersey18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 15 days apart) and one writtenApr. 2019Aug. 2019New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill ActLegislature
New Mexico18Six or lessOne written request (state-provided form)Apr. 2021June 2021New Mexico Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options ActLegislature
Oregon18Six or lessTwo oral and one writtenNov. 1994Oct. 1997Oregon Death with Dignity ActBallot
Vermont18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 15 days apart) and one writtenMay 2013May 2013Vermont Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life ActLegislature
Washington18Six or lessTwo oral (at least 15 days apart) and one writtenNov. 2008Mar. 2009Washington Death with Dignity ActBallot

Which states allow assisted suicide?

California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington all have legislation allowing assisted suicide.

Frequently Asked Questions