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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bills Opposing And Supporting Assisted Suicide On Tuesday's Legislative Agenda

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

Tuesday at the Montana Legislature brings two opposing bills on physician-assisted suicide. Currently in state law, people with terminal illnesses can ask a doctor for aid in ending their lives.

Republican Representative Brad Tschida of Missoula is carrying House Bill 328, making it so that the doctors could be charged with homicide for aiding terminal patients in dying.

Critics of physician-assisted suicide say there’s potential for abuse from caregivers and that sometimes, a patient can live longer than expected.

Tschida refused to comment, but Democratic Representative Dick Barrett, also of Missoula, spoke on why he thinks this bill is wrong.

“It fails to respect the autonomy and the wishes of people who are dying.”

Barrett is sponsoring opposing bill, Senate Bill 202, which would ensure that physicians who help their patients commit suicide cannot be charged with any wrongdoing if they follow specific guidelines.

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