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Connecticut Euthanasia Laws

One of most contentious social and political topics of conversation in America lately has been euthanasia and a person’s right to die. While none of us want to think of a loved one or ourselves having a debilitating, painful, and terminal illness, we may often wonder what the law says on the matter. If we get to the point that we’re thinking of ways in which we can ease or end a loved one’s suffering, how do state laws handle euthanasia? Here is a basic overview of euthanasia laws in Connecticut.

Euthanasia Laws

Euthanasia generally refers to killing or permitting the death of a hopelessly sick or injured person. Also known as physician-assisted suicide or mercy killings, these situations normally arise in cases of terminal illness or a similar life-limiting condition. Most state laws prohibit euthanasia to some extent. Connecticut statutes do not address euthanasia in in a medical context, but assisted suicide is a crime under the state’s penal code.

Euthanasia Statutes in Connecticut

Euthanasia laws in Connecticut are highlighted in the chart below.

Code Section

General Statutes of Connecticut Title 53a-56: Manslaughter In the Second Degree

Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?

A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when…he intentionally causes or aids another person…to commit suicide.

Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures

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The law on euthanasia is still in flux. In 1997, the Supreme Court held that there's no constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide. The Court noted that the government's interest in preventing intentional killing and preserving life outweighs a citizen’s liberty interest in having the choice to die. Therefore, states are permitted to outlaw euthanasia. The Court did, however, distinguish between a doctor proactively ending a patient's life (which may be prohibited) and a doctor passively refusing or removing life-saving medical treatment (which may be allowed). States have the same option of making the distinction under their laws.

In the very few states have enacted laws protecting a patient's right to die, doctors are only allowed to give patients lethal doses of certain drugs at their request. The patients themselves must control the act of self-administering the doses.

Connecticut Euthanasia Laws: Related Resources

Euthanasia remains a prevalent and divisive issue in health and constitutional law. You can contact a Connecticut health care attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a terminal health care issue. You can also visit FindLaw's section on Patient Rights for more resources and information.

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