Are You a Legal Professional?

California Euthanasia Laws

Euthanasia, or "mercy killing," is the act of taking someone's life who no longer wishes to live, typically because they have a terminal illness or some other debilitating condition. Currently only one state (Oregon) allows physician-assisted suicide, but many states do allow the withdrawal of life-sustaining machines or procedures. In California, euthanasia laws are not on the books. But the state's Natural Death Act allows the removal from life-support procedures or devices.

The basics of California euthanasia-related laws are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Patient Rights Basics for more related articles and resources.

Code Section Probate §4653
Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes? Nothing condones, authorizes, or approves mercy killing or permits an affirmative act or omission to end life other than the withholding of health care pursuant to a durable power of attorney so as to permit the natural process of dying. In making health care decisions under a durable power of attorney, an attempted suicide shall not be construed to indicate a decision of the principal that health care treatment be restricted or inhibited.
Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures Death resulting from withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in accordance with the Natural Death Act does not constitute for any purposes suicide or homicide.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a California health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law:

Related Resources for Euthanasia Laws:

Next Steps
Contact a qualified attorney.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)