Montana Lawmakers to Take Up Physician-assisted Suicide Ban
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers are being asked to consider a bill that would make it illegal for a physician to prescribe drugs to hasten the death of a terminally ill patient.
The state Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that nothing in state law prohibits physician-assisted suicide. Since then, lawmakers have failed to pass bills that sought to either explicitly ban or legalize the act, leaving the practice in a gray area legally.
A House bill to be heard Tuesday aims to change that. Under the measure, doctors who prescribe life-ending medication could be charged with homicide and they would be unable to use the patient's request for assistance as a defense.
The bill does not refer to withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, which is allowed under the Montana Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.