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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Panel OKs bill to make physician-assisted suicide illegal

Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. – A Montana legislative committee has advanced a bill that would make it illegal for doctors to help terminally ill patients kill themselves.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 Monday to send the measure by Republican Rep. Brad Tschida of Missoula to the House floor.

In 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that doctors could use a patient’s request for life-saving medication as a defense against criminal charges. In each legislative session since then, lawmakers have tried and failed to make physician-assisted suicide either explicitly legal or illegal.

Some lawmakers who voted for Tschida’s bill recounted personal experiences in which loved ones were told they would die soon, only to live for several more years.

Democratic Rep. Shane Morigeau of Missoula says people diagnosed with terminal illnesses should have the freedom to choose to do what they want.

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