Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Montana Bill to prohibit assisted suicide fails in the Montana Senate.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Joshua Margolis reported on February 21 for NBC Montana that Bill SB 210, a bill that would prohibit assisted suicide in Montana, passed in the Senate at Second reading by a 26 to 24 vote.

Mara Silvers reported for The Montana Free Press on February 22, that SB 210 was defeated at third reading was defeated by a narrow margin after a few Senators flipped their votes.

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.

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

Margolis reported:

Senate Bill 210 would change Montana code to state that a physician “purposefully and knowingly prescribing a lethal dose of medication to a patient” is against public policy. It also states that a patient’s consent cannot be used as a defense if the physician is charged with homicide.
Margolis quoted Senator Carl Glimm, the sponsor of the bill that:
“This needs to be the solution. We need to be consistent in our message and tell the citizens of Montana that suicide is not the answer,”
Margolis also reported that:
The bill had its initial committee hearing on Feb. 1 in the Senate Judiciary and passed its first reading along party lines the following week. A third reading is expected on February 22, and it would then head to the House if approved.
Efforts to pass similar bills in previous legislative sessions have been unsuccessful, but this bill has the vocal support of Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras.

EPC-USA supported SB 210 and thank Senator Glimm for standing up against assisting a suicide.

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