Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Idaho bill to clarify that assisted suicide is illegal passes unanimously in House State Affairs Committee

The Associated Press reported that yesterday, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee passed Bill SB 1070. SB 1070 clarifies the penalties for assisted suicide in Idaho. The bill passed in the Idaho Senate by a vote of 31 to 2 and it is expected to pass in the House.

The AP article doesn't state that the bill passed unanimously in Committee. The article also omits that fact that assisted suicide is already illegal in Idaho and that this bill clarifies the statute and ensures that it is enforceable.

The Associated Press Article stated
Legislation to make assisted suicide a felony is headed to the Idaho House — its final hurdle in the 2011 session.

The measure cleared the House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday. If it becomes law, those found guilty face five years in prison

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, introduced the legislation saying he wanted to make it clear Idaho rejects assisted suicide as a standard of care. It passed the Senate, but not without emotional debate that underscored lawmakers' discomfort with encroaching on deeply personal decisions even as they seek to protect life.

Lawmakers in the House lauded efforts to improve the measure.

Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, said she initially had doubts and feared it would allow "frivolous" intervention with end-of-life care, but changes had made it "a pretty decent bill."

Idaho represents one of four victories in this legislative session in the United States. New Hampshire, Hawaii and Montana defeated bills to legalize assisted suicide. Vermont is the last state with a bill to legalize assisted suicide. We anticipate the vote to be close but we expect that it will also be defeated.

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