Many people have a strong opinion on whether doctors should be able to assist patients who want to end their own lives. Doctors, lawyers, state legislators, and ordinary citizens often have something to say about it. Euthanasia is illegal in the vast majority of states and remains a hot-button issue. The state euthanasia laws can differ: some permit it, most ban it, many prosecute doctors who take part in it, and some have no laws on it at all. Knowing the law where you live can help you or a loved one make health care and end of life decisions. Here’s a quick summary of euthanasia laws in Wyoming.
Wyoming Has No Euthanasia Law
Wyoming has no clear euthanasia law. The state does not condone physician-assisted suicide, but does not clearly prohibit it either. One reason for the uncertainty is that Wyoming does not recognize common law crimes. The common law considered suicide to be a crime and permitted prosecutors to charge anyone assisting or encouraging a suicide to be charged as an accessory.
Wyoming residents facing end of life decisions have alternative options. The state’s Comfort One program permits people to sign up for “do not resuscitate” status and can be linked to a living will or durable power of attorney for medical decisions. Patients can also create advance health care directives. These instruct doctors in making health care decisions should a patient become incapacitated later on due to illness. Patients can also designate someone else to make health care decisions should they become too ill to do so themselves. Finally, when no advance preparations exist, Wyoming law allows surrogates (generally family members) to make healthcare decisions for a patient lacking capacity.
No specific statute on Euthanasia.
Resuscitation directives (35-22-201-208)
Wyoming Health Care Decisions Act covers advance health care directives, power of attorney for healthcare, surrogacy and guardian decisions (35-22-401-416)
|Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?||No. Euthanasia is neither condoned nor clearly prohibited under Wyoming law.|
|Effect of Withholding Life-Sustaining Medical Care||Doctors have civil and criminal immunity when their actions comply with the Wyoming Health Care Decisions Act (35-22-410).|
Related Resources for Euthanasia Laws
You can find more general information on health care law and state "death with dignity” laws on these pages. For more specific questions or assistance in planning for end of life issues, consider speaking with a local health care lawyer.
Contact a qualified attorney.