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Rhode Island Laws on Assisted Suicide
State of Rhode Island General Laws Chapter 11-60


§ 11-60-1 Legislative findings. –

The General Assembly finds and declares that the welfare of the citizens of the state requires that vulnerable persons be protected from suicide and that the cost to the taxpayers of enforcing laws preventing assisted suicides will be reduced by promoting civil enforcement of such laws.


§ 11-60-2 Definitions. –

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Licensed health care professional" means a physician, surgeon, podiatrist, osteopath, osteopathic physician and surgeon, physician assistant, nurse, nurse anesthetist, dentist, or pharmacist licensed pursuant to title 5.

(2) "Suicide" means the act or instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally.


§ 11-60-3 Prevention of assisted suicide. –

An individual or licensed health care practitioner who with the purpose of assisting another person to commit suicide knowingly:

(1) Provides the physical means by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide; or

(2) Participates in a physical act by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide is guilty of a felony and upon conviction may be punished by imprisonment for up to ten (10) years, by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or both.


§ 11-60-4 Acts and omissions exempted. –

(a) A licensed health care professional who administers, prescribes, or dispenses medications or procedures to relieve another person's pain or discomfort, even if the medication or procedure may hasten or increase the risk of death, does not violate the provision of this chapter unless the medications or procedures are knowingly administered, prescribed, or dispensed to cause death.

(b) A licensed health care professional who withholds or withdraws a life-sustaining procedure in compliance with chapter 4.10 of title 23 does not violate the provisions of this chapter.


§ 11-60-5 Injunctive relief. –

(a) The attorney general is empowered to seek an injunction against any person violating the provisions of this chapter. The person who has been assisted or counseled in an attempt to commit suicide, may seek an injunction against all future unlawful assisted suicides by the particular individual who assisted or attempted to assist the suicide.

(b) A cause of action for injunctive relief under this section may be maintained by the attorney general against any individual or licensed health care practitioner who is reasonably believed to be about to violate or who is in the course of violating this chapter.


Source: State of Rhode Island General Assembly, "State of Rhode Island General Laws," www.rilin.state.ri.us (accessed Nov. 8, 2012)