Euthanasia laws in Kentucky

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2023 | Elder care |

As we age, our needs change. This includes estate planning, home needs, care needs and, unfortunately, medical needs, among many other needs. And, for some, with extreme medical issues in Bowling Green, Louisville and throughout Kentucky, you may want to know your euthanasia options.

What is it?

Euthanasia is the term that is more commonly known as physician-assisted suicide. Usually, people begin looking into this when they have a life-threatening illness that will inevitably kill them, but will do so slowly, painfully or in some horrible way. Family members and friends may also look into euthanasia as well for these same reasons, or if they see their family or friend in severe pain.

Kentucky law

Unlike other states, Kentucky actually has laws directly on point: Kentucky Revised Statuses, Sections 216.302 (Causing a Suicide, Assisting in a Suicide), 311.637 (Withholding or Withdrawal of Life-Prolonging Treatment Under Kentucky Law Not to Constitute Suicide) and 311.639 (Mercy Killing Not Condoned, Authorized, or Approved). These laws are clear that euthanasia is explicitly illegal in Bowling Green, Louisville and throughout Kentucky. Indeed, any deliberate act that ends another’s life (other than the natural process of dying) is illegal throughout the state.

The law could change

Over the past couple of years, there have been attempts to change this law in the state. For example, in 2021, HB 506 (Our Care, Our Options Act) sought to make some version of euthanasia legal in the state. It ultimately did not go anywhere, but it does show a willingness to at least talk about the subject at the state level.


To be clear, the penalties for euthanasia in Bowling Green, Louisville and throughout Kentucky are severe. You could face a Class C felony, which is a jail sentence of 5 to 10 years and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 (or double what you were paid or gained from the euthanasia). For a health care professional, you could also lose your license and have your certification taken by the licensing agency. These are serious issues, which is why it is better to speak with your Kentucky life care planning attorney about your options.