Euthanasia, or mercy killing, is the act of taking a person's life who no longer has the desire or will to live, such as a terminally ill cancer patient confined to a hospital bed. While the decision to take one's own life instead of waiting for a serious illness to run its course is a very personal decision, state laws dictate whether it is even legal. The term "euthanasia " technically refers to a third party actively causing the death of someone who has requested it, which is illegal in all states.
The handful of states that have right-to-die laws either allow physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to the patient or allow a legal defense for those who do so. Patients do have the right to refuse medical care, including artificial life-support, but must plan ahead (see Sample Living Will Directive to Physicians ).
Does Minnesota Law Allow Euthanasia or Doctor-Assisted Suicide?
The state of Minnesota does not allow physician-assisted suicide or any kind of euthanasia, which may be charged as a felony and punished with prison and/or a fine. However, state law also acknowledges the federally guaranteed right to be removed from life support and allowed to die naturally. Also, physicians are not held liable if a terminally ill patient dies earlier from pain medication or any other attempt to ease pain.
See the following chart for additional details about Minnesota's euthanasia and assisted-suicide laws, and FindLaw's Patient Rights section for more articles.
|Code Section||145B.14; 145C:14|
|Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?||Euthanasia, mercy killing, suicide, or assisted suicide is not condoned or authorized or approved by Minnesota law.|
|Penalty for Aiding Suicide||Up to 15 years in prison and/or up to $30,000 in fines.|
|Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures||Doctors not held liable if withholding is authorized by a valid living will.|
Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through new legislation, ballot initiatives, or case law. Contact a Minnesota health care attorney or estate planning attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Minnesota Euthanasia Laws: Related Resources
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