Montana House Passes Assisted Suicide Ban, Bill Heads to State Senate

State   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   Mar 17, 2015   |   11:20AM   |   Helena MT

Montana has taken a big step forward in passing a bill that would protect Montanan’s from assisted suicide.

Today the Montana House passed bill HB 477, by a 51 to 48 vote. HB 477 would include physician-assisted suicide within the current state law that prohibits “aiding or soliciting suicide.”

On Friday, HB 477 had a tie vote (50 to 50). On Saturday, the bill was brought back for reconsideration and today it passed.
HB 477 will now go to the Montana Senate.

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For the last few years Montana has had confusion with respect to assisted suicide. In 2009, the Baxter court decision stated that Montana citizens had a right to assisted suicide. Baxter was appealed to the Montana Supreme Court that decided Montana citizens do not have a right to assisted suicide. The court did not overturn the assisted suicide statute, but the court did grant a tightly worded defense of consent, if a physician was prosecuted for assisted suicide.

Therefore physician-assisted suicide remains illegal in Montana, since prosecution for assisted suicide remained possible.


Senate Bill 202, a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide in Montana was defeated last month at the Senate Judiciary Committee. Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.