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Death with Dignity Acts

In the United States, Death with Dignity Acts are laws that permit terminally ill, mentally competent adults to request and obtain a prescribed medication from their physicians that they can take to aid in the hastening of their death. Death with Dignity Acts have been controversial since their inception, and as of this writing, four states (Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California) have Death with Dignity laws. This entry provides an overview of the specific components of Death with Dignity Acts as well as the legal steps to ending one’s own life under these laws. A brief summary of how these laws came to pass in their respective states is included, followed by an account of some of the controversies over Death with Dignity Acts.

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