Danielle van Dalen

By Danielle van Dalen - 28/04/2020

Danielle van Dalen

By Danielle van Dalen -

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FAQ #6 | Where is euthanasia and/or assisted suicide currently legal?

Of a total 252 jurisdictions worldwide, only 18 allow some combination of euthanasia and assisted suicide, with two additional jurisdictions where the practices are somewhat allowed.[1]

The 18 jurisdictions are: the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, Canada, Portugal, and Germany; the US states of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Maine, and the District of Columbia; and the Australian states of Victoria and Western Australia. The two additional jurisdictions are Switzerland and the US state of Montana.[2]

This means that euthanasia or assisted suicide are legal in only about 7% of jurisdictions worldwide.

Are there jurisdictions that have considered euthanasia and/or assisted suicide legislation and said no?

In just the last five years assisted dying legislation has been defeated in at least 15 jurisdictions. This includes:

Moreover, since the 1990s, US states and countries around the world have considered hundreds of bills to legalise euthanasia and/or assisted suicide but the majority of these have either been defeated, stalled or withdrawn due to lack of support, or passed on for further study and debate. This includes the 2012 defeat of the Massachusetts referendum which would have legalised assisted suicide.[18]


GO TO NEXT FAQ #7 –In places where this is already legal, how many people actually choose it?


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[1] The 252 jurisdictions are made up of 195 countries, 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and 6 Australian states.
[2] Death with Dignity National Center, “Take Action,” https://www.deathwithdignity.org/take-action/, accessed 6/04/20; Government of the Netherlands, “Euthanasia, assisted suicide and non-resuscitation on request,” https://www.government.nl/topics/euthanasia/euthanasia-assisted-suicide-and-non-resuscitation-on-request, accessed 6/04/20; “Euthanasia and assisted dying rates are soaring. But where are they legal?” (The Guardian, 15 July 2019) https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jul/15/euthanasia-and-assisted-dying-rates-are-soaring-but-where-are-they-legal, accessed 6/4/20; “Assisted dying explained: Victoria’s new laws, the safeguards  and the Catholic resistance,” (The Guardian, 19 June 2019) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/19/assisted-dying-explained-victorias-new-laws-the-safeguards-and-the-catholic-resistance, accessed 6/4/20; “Voluntary euthanasia becomes law in WA in emotional scenes at Parliament,” (ABC, 11 December 2019) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-10/voluntary-euthanasia-becomes-law-in-wa-in-emotional-scenes/11784828, accessed 6/4/20; “Decriminalisation of euthanasia bills passed,” (The Portugal News, 28 February 2020) https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/decriminalisation-of-euthanasia-bills-passed/53150, accessed 6/4/20; and “Germany overturns ban on professionally assisted suicide,” (BBC, 26 February 2020), https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51643306, accessed 6/4/20.
[3] “MSPs reject Assisted Suicide Scotland Bill,” (BBC, 27 May 2015) https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-32887408, accessed 26/03/20.
[4] “Assisted Dying Bill overwhelmingly rejected by MPs,” (The Guardian, 12 September 2015) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/11/mps-begin-debate-assisted-dying-bill, accessed 26/03/20.
[5] “South Africa’s appeals court overturns ruling allowing ‘assisted dying’” (Reuters, 7 December 2016) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-safrica-health-euthanasia/south-africas-appeals-court-overturns-ruling-allowing-assisted-dying-idUSKBN13V1BH, accessed 26/03/20.
[6] Death with Dignity National Center, “New Hampshire: Current Status,” https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/new-hampshire/, accessed 26/03/20.
[7] “Voluntary Euthanasia: South Australian Parliament knocks back Death with Dignity euthanasia bill,” (ABC, 17 November 2016), https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-16/voluntary-euthanasia-debate-in-south-australia-goes-to-committee/8031776, accessed 26/03/20.
[8] Death with Dignity National Center, “New Mexico: Current Status,” https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/new-mexico/, accessed 26/03/20.
[9] “Assisted Dying Bill Fails to Pass Tasmanian Parliament,” (The Guardian, 24 May 2017) https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/25/assisted-dying-bill-fails-to-pass-tasmanian-parliament, accessed 26/03/20.
[10] Death with Dignity National Center, “Maine,” https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/maine/, accessed 26/03/20.
[11] “Euthanasia to be legal in Victoria from 2019,” (The Age, 29 November 2017) https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/euthanasia-to-be-legal-in-victoria-from-2019-20171129-gzuxa8.html, accessed 26/03/20.
[12] “Court of Appeals rejects right to ‘aid in dying’” (Politico, 09 July 2017) https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2017/09/07/court-of-appeals-rejects-right-to-aid-in-dying-114347, accessed 26/03/20.
[13] “ACT and NT assisted suicide bill fails to clear the Senate,” (RACGP, 16 August 2018) https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/professional/act-and-nt-assisted-suicide-bill-fails-to-clear-th, accessed 26/03/20.
[14] Death with Dignity National Center, “New Hampshire: Current Status,” https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/new-hampshire/, accessed 26/03/20.
[15] “Supreme Court rejects request for right-to-die case to be heard,” (The Guardian, 27 November 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/27/uk-supreme-court-rejects-right-to-die-case-hearing-noel-conway, accessed 26/03/20.
[16] Death with Dignity National Center, “ Utah: Current Status,” https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/utah/, accessed 26/03/20.
[17] Death with Dignity National Center, “Maryland: Current Status,” https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/maryland/, accessed 26/03/20.
[18] “Massachusetts voters narrowly defeat Question 2, measure that would have allowed physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients,” (Daily News, 7 November 2012) https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/mass-votes-physician-assisted-suicide-article-1.1198305, accessed 20/04/20.

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