The Montana legislature has just passed House Bill (HB) 505 at third reading, by a vote of 51 to 46, a bill that clarifies the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide and prevents assisted suicide in Montana. HB 505 will now go to the Montana Senate for approval.
This is an incredible victory for the Montanans Against Assisted Suicide. It is also a tremendous victory for every American who cares about protecting vulnerable citizens.
The assisted suicide lobby falsely claimed that the Baxter court decision (2009) had legalized assisted suicide in Montana. The fact is that the Baxter decision did not legalize assisted suicide in Montana.
During the 2011 and 2013 legislative sessions, bills to actually legalize assisted suicide in Montana were defeated.
Bill HB 505 clarifies the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide and it protects people from assisted suicide in Montana. The bill does this by making minor changes to Section 45-5-105 of the MCA.
The new version of Section 45-5-105 would read:
(1) A person who purposely aids or solicits another person to commit suicide, including physician-assisted suicide, commits the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide.(2) The consent of a victim is not a defense to the provisions of this section, and 45-2-211 does not apply.(3) A person convicted of the offense of aiding or soliciting a suicide shall be imprisoned in the state prison for any term not to exceed 10 years or to be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both.(4) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:(a) "Aid" means to facilitate, assist or help,(b) (i) "Physician-assisted suicide", also know as physician-aid-in-dying, means any act by a physician of purposely aiding or soliciting another person to end the person's life, including prescribing a drug, compound, or substance, providing a medical procedure, or directly or indirectly participating in an act with the purpose of aiding or soliciting suicide.(b) (ii) The term does not include end-of-life palliative care in which a dying person receives medication to alleviate pain that may incidentally hasten the dying person's death or any act to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment authorized pursuant to Title 50, chapters 9 and 10.(c) "Solicit" has the meaning provided in 45-2-101.It is clear that the minor changes to Section 45-5-105 of the act have clarified the law and will protect people in Montana from assisted suicide.
The act is effective on passage and approval.The act applies to offenses committed on or after the effective date of this act.