“Death with Dignity”:  Where does New Hampshire Stand?

End-of-life choice, oftentimes referred to as death with dignity, is a hot-button topic frequently making national and international headlines. The debate over whether physician-assisted suicide should be legalized is very contentious, and both supporters and opponents of the concept fiercely defend their positions.

Currently, the decision rests with the individual states.


Across the Country

Across the country, states are addressing death with dignity in many different ways.

Oregon, Washington, Montana, California and Vermont have successfully passed death with dignity legislation. These laws basically state that individuals diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months may qualify for a lethal dose of medication from a licensed physician.

In other states, lawmakers refuse to touch the issue.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the death with dignity conversation is just beginning.

The state legislature will decide whether to assemble an end-of-life choices study commission by considering the bipartisan Senate Bill 426.

As written, SB 426 provides for the establishment of a commission to research end-of-life choices. The bill proposes that the commission be made up of members of the house and senate, physicians, members from various state agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the New Hampshire Hospital Association, attorneys, religious leaders and more.

If the bill is passed, the commission will be tasked with exhaustively researching the issue - including looking at other states’ aid-in-dying laws and examining the positive and negative effects of those laws.  The commission will also be responsible for providing the New Hampshire legislature with its written findings and any recommendations for proposed legislation. The full text of the bill can be found here.

As of February 11th, the New Hampshire Senate passed the bill. It is now in committee in the House. No hearing on the bill is currently scheduled, but you can follow the bill’s status here.


An important issue to many, it appears that the death with dignity issue may be considered in New Hampshire soon but it will surely not be decided quickly.


If you wish to learn more about the death with dignity movement and to see what’s going on around the country regarding the issue,  https://www.deathwithdignity.org/ may be a good place to start.

Additionally, this topic was discussed recently on 60 Minutes. The link to the discussion can be found at the following site: