Friday, January 27, 2023

Montana Bill (SB 210) prohibits assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Over the past few years Montanans have had a confusing situation concerning assisted suicide. 

In 2009, the Baxter court decision declared that Montanans had a right to assisted suicide. The Baxter decision was appealed to the Montana Supreme Court where it was decided that Montanans do not have a right to assisted suicide but the Court found a defense of consent. Therefore, if a Montana physician assists a suicide the physician must prove that there was consent.

Physician-Assisted Suicide is not legal in Montana.

State Senator Carl Glimm
Since the Montana Supreme Court decision, the assisted suicide lobby has claimed that assisted suicide is legal in Montana. Even though assisted suicide is technically prohibited, Montanans have been dying by assisted suicide.

In 2023, Montana State Senator, Carl Glimm has introduced Bill SB 210 to reverse the effect of the Montana Supreme Court decision by clarifying that consent is not a defense for homicide or assisted suicide.

Bill (SB 210) to reverse Baxter and prohibit assisted suicide will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb 1. Written testimony supporting SB 210 must be submitted by February 1 at: (Link).

SB 210 states:

3 (a) For the purposes of subsection (2)(d), physician aid in dying is against public policy, and a patient's consent to physician aid in dying is not a defense to a charge of homicide against the aiding physician.

3 (b) (1) For the purposes of this subsection (3), "physician aid in dying" means an act by a physician of purposefully prescribing a lethal dose of medication to a patient that the patient may self-administer to end the patient's life.

3 (b) (ii) The term does not include an act of withholding or withdrawing a life-sustaining treatment or procedure authorized pursuant to Title 50, chapter 9 or 10."

SB 210 effectively closes the loophole and prevents assisted suicide in Montana.

Written testimony supporting SB 210 must be submitted by February 1 at: (Link).

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