Skip to content

District of Columbia


District of Columbia


District of Columbia’s Death with Dignity Act passed in 2017.

Timeline of Death with Dignity in District of Columbia



Federal Attempts to Interfere with D.C. Law

The 2019 federal budget proposal from the U.S. House of Representatives again contains a rider attempting to repeal the D.C. Death with Dignity Act. The rider does not make it into law, and the Act remains fully intact.



Death with Dignity Passes in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia is the sixth jurisdiction in the U.S. to enact an assisted- dying statute. The D.C. Death with Dignity Act goes into effect on February 18, 2017 with implementation starting in June.

Federal lawmakers opposed to the D.C. law attempt to repeal it through a budget rider. Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) and Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) introduce companion resolutions, HJ Res. 27 and  SJ Res. 4, disapproving of D.C.’s law. They were joined by 55 Representatives and 3 Senators. 

The House version of the proposed 2018 federal budget contained a rider repealing the Act. The rider was left out of the Senate companion bill, and the budget passed without the rider.



Poll Shows Strong Support for Death with Dignity

D.C. Councilwoman Mary Chen introduces a Death with Dignity bill for the first time, backed by a poll showing 67% of Capitol residents in support. 

Conducted by Lake Research, the poll asked voters if they supported or opposed a bill “that would allow a terminally ill adult patient to obtain a physician’s prescription for drugs to end his or her life, voluntarily, and with informed choice.” 

The poll found 67% in favor while only 27% opposed. 51% strongly favored the measure.

The poll showed even stronger support for statements including:

  • 77% believed “patients should be allowed to die in as humane and dignified manner as they see fit.”
  • 76% believed “it’s my body and my choice to make the best medical decisions for myself in consultation with my doctor, my family, and my faith, including my end of life decisions.”

Commissioned by Death with Dignity, the poll was a key factor in the eventual passage of D.C.’s law in 2017.