Mississippi Euthanasia Laws

The thought of having a debilitating, painful, and terminal illness, or thinking of a loved one enduring it, can be heartbreaking. Naturally, we think of ways in which we can ease or end their suffering, and sometimes those thoughts turn to finding a peaceful way for them to pass away. Killing or allowing the death of a hopelessly sick or injured person is legally known as “euthanasia,” and while most states ban it entirely, their laws can differ on the subject. Here is a brief overview of euthanasia laws in Mississippi.

Euthanasia Laws

Euthanasia remains a hotly contested legal, social, and political issue and normally arises if a person has a terminal illness or similar life-limiting condition. Also known as physician-assisted suicide or mercy killing, the details and language of euthanasia laws can vary, although just about every state outlaws euthanasia to some extent. Deliberate mercy killings are not allowed under Mississippi law, however withholding or withdrawal of "life-sustaining" measures may be permitted in some circumstances.

Euthanasia Statutes in Mississippi

Mississippi’s euthanasia statutes are listed in the table below.

Code Section

Mississippi Code 41-41-227

Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?

This act does not authorize mercy killing, assisted suicide, or euthanasia.

Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures

The act does not authorize the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of health-care to the extent prohibited by other statutes.

Euthanasia Law History

Under federal law, there is no constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide. In 1997 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the government's interest in preventing intentional killing and preserving life outweighs a citizen’s liberty interest in having the choice to die and upheld a state law prohibiting euthanasia.

As such, states are permitted to ban euthanasia, although most have made the distinction between a physician proactively ending a patient's life (which is not permitted) and passively refusing or removing life-saving medical treatment (which normally is permitted). While a few states have gone farther and enacted laws protecting a patient's right to die, even in those states doctors are only permitted to provide certain drugs at their patients’ request and it is the patients themselves who must self-administer the doses; doctors are not allowed to administer lethal doses of drugs.

Mississippi Euthanasia Laws: Related Resources

The national debate on euthanasia, and its place in health and constitutional law, remains contentious. You can consult with a Mississippi health care attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a terminal health care matter. You can also find more resources and information on this topic by visiting FindLaw's section on Patient Rights.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.