Panel Tables Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — A Senate committee is again tabling a measure that aims to bring clarity to physician-assisted suicide in Montana.

Supporters of Senate Bill 220 said it would establish legal definitions, clarify that doctors performing the procedure have legal immunity and ensure that doctors unwilling to perform the procedure are not required to do so.

Physician-assisted suicide remains mired in controversy since the state Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that nothing in state law prohibits it.

Opponents argue that the court decision did not specifically legalize the practice, and instead just gave doctors a defense if charged with a crime. They argued it is wrong to formally define physician-assisted suicide in law

The Senate Judiciary Committee tabled the proposal Wednesday, as it did two years ago.