Massachusetts Laws on Assisted Suicide
Common Law

Assisted suicide is governed by common law in Massachusetts. Common law is a body of law that is based on custom and general principles and is embodied in case law that serves as precedent or is applied to situations not covered by statute. In general, assisted suicide is covered by the murder statute and a statute within the laws for health care proxies.


Section 1. Murder committed with deliberately premeditated malice aforethought, or with extreme atrocity or cruelty, or in the commission or attempted commission of a crime punishable with death or imprisonment for life, is murder in the first degree. Murder which does not appear to be in the first degree is murder in the second degree. Petit treason shall be prosecuted and punished as murder. The degree of murder shall be found by the jury.


Section 12. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to constitute, condone, authorize, or approve suicide or mercy killing, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act to end one’s own life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

Source: The 187th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "General Laws," (accessed Nov. 12, 2012)