Board won't change assisted-suicide policy

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012
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The Montana Legislature has been unable to reach consensus on providing clarity to the issue one way or the other.

The Montana Board of Medical Examiners said it wrote its position paper based on a request from a member. The board said its position does not pass judgment on the procedure one way or another.

"In all matters of medical practice, including en-of-life matters, physicians are held to professional standards," the position paper reads.

The board rejected the request to reconsider its decision without public comment. The board noted that the position paper was neither an administrative rule or a law, but merely informative guidance to its regulated members.

Bradley Williams, the Hamilton-based coordinator of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, said his group formally requested the board to revoke that policy. He said the group will next ask the courts to strike the paper.

Williams said his group believes the Supreme Court decision did not legalize physician-assisted suicide, but rather gave doctors a defense they could use if charged with a crime.