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Montana Senate narrowly defeats bill to ban assisted suicide

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In a narrow vote, Montana lawmakers rejected another attempt to ban assisted suicide. Senate Bill 210, sponsored by Sen. Carl Glimm, R-Kila, passed an initial vote on Tuesday by a two-vote margin, with 26 Republicans in favor and a bipartisan coalition of 24 lawmakers voting. Mara Silvers reported on the outcome. The margin of the initial vote flipped when lawmakers reconsidered the bill on Wednesday. One senator changed his vote in the affirmative, and three others switched sides to oppose the bill.

Time is running out. The Legislature’s transmittal deadline is March 3, the date by which policy bills must pass from one chamber to the other in order to survive.

Since 2009, similar legislation to SB 210 has been introduced on a consistent basis. This was the year in which the Montana Supreme Court ruled that physicians who prescribe lethal medications to a terminally ill person at the end of their life can use the patient’s consent as a legal defense to homicide charges. This decision in Baxter v. State created a legal loophole for physicians to prescribe aid in dying for patients.

SB 210’s six supporters included Disability Rights Montana, the Montana Catholic Conference, and Lt. Gov. Kristin Juras, who spoke on behalf of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration. Juras concurred with Sen. Glimm regarding the necessity of resolutely opposing suicide for all Montanans, including older adults and those with terminal medical conditions.

“I think elder people are vulnerable,” Juras said. “I took care of my parents. My father on several occasions said, ‘I don’t want to be a burden. Is there a way that I can go?’ And it was our job as a society, as his children, to stand up and say, ‘You are valuable. You are valuable in the midst of suffering. We are going to get through this. Suicide is not the solution.’”


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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