House backs physician-assisted suicide ban

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2013 at 3:15 pm •  Published: February 27, 2013
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The House is backing a plan to ban physician-assisted suicide in Montana.

The chamber backed House Bill 505 Wednesday in a 54-45 initial vote. Supporters say it is needed to protect elderly people from potential abuse of heirs seeking money.

The Legislature has struggled with physician-assisted suicide since a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that said nothing in state law prohibits it.

The ruling effectively made Montana the third state to legalize the practice. But a lack of regulations or oversight has left lingering questions.

A Senate committee has tabled a measure that would have formally legalized it.

Supporters of physician-assisted suicide argue people have the right to die with dignity when facing certain death.

The proposed ban faces a final House vote before going to the Senate.