Important State Legislation on Death with Dignity

In 1997 Oregon was the first state to adopt end-of-life options by passing its Death with Dignity Act. The law allows terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives through voluntary self-administration of lethal medications expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose. Oregon voters passed the citizen’s initiative twice, the first time by 51 to 49 percent, the last by a margin of 60 to 40 percent, http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Pages/faqs.aspx#whatis. States passing similar legislation in 2009 include: 1.) Washington with its Death with Dignity Act, and 2.) Montana, citing its Rights of the Terminally Ill Act. Recently passed legislation includes Vermont’s 2013 Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act, and California’s End of Life Option Act, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on October 5, 2105.

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