The Washington Death with Dignity Act has been in effect since March 5, 2009. Similar to the Oregon model legislation, the Washington Death with Dignity has worked flawlessly and as intended. In the seven years since the aid in dying bill took effect, the State of Washington reports 938 terminally ill patients have received a prescription for the medications, and 651 of those died after ingesting the medication.
In the 2017 legislative session, four Republican and one Democratic State Senators proposed SB 5433 which would add “the treatment for the purpose of cure and the treatment for the purpose of extending the patient’s life” to the feasible alternatives the attending physician would have to inform a requesting patient about under the Washington Death with Dignity Act. Our friends at End of Life Washington (see below) testified against the bill, which passed in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on February 14 and in the full Senate on March 7 on a 26 to 23 vote. The bill was then reintroduced in the 2018 session, on January 8.
Following our successful ballot initiative campaign, Washington voters approved of their state’s Death with Dignity Act in 2008. The law went into effect in 2009.
- Text of the Washington Death with Dignity Act
- Compliance forms for patients and providers
- How to access the Washington Death with Dignity Act
- Washington State Department of Health Death with Dignity Act Reports
- End of Life Washington helps patients navigate the request process of the Washington Death with Dignity Act. They have compiled information about which activities each hospital in the state permits or restricts when a patient asks for assistance using the Act (as in Oregon and Vermont, there is no list of physicians who prescribe medications under the state’s Death with Dignity Act).
- Washington Department of Health provides information about the Act, request and compliance forms for download, and annual reports on the law’s usage.
- End of Life Washington (formerly Compassion & Choices of Washington)