Utah House passes bill criminalizing assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Utah is one of several states that does not have an assisted suicide law. States, such as Utah, prosecute assisted suicide under common law.

On Wednesday the Utah house overwhelmingly passed HB 86, a bill that criminalizes assisted suicide by placing it within the Utah manslaughter statute.

Representative Michael McKell, amended HB 86 to deal with the critics concerns that the bill may criminalize physicians or family members who accidentally overdosed someone.

HB 86 was introduced in response to the horrific death of a teenage girl:

It’s what one Utah lawmaker calls a “sick case” — a teenager is accused of encouraging a friend to kill herself, buying her the materials to do so and then filming the 16-year-old girl’s suicide on a cellphone.

After the girl’s May 2017 death, prosecutors charged 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien with first-degree felony murder.

Bill HB 86 clearly defines the act of assisted suicide. The substituted version of HB 86 was passed by the House on a 51-18 vote even though Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D) who has introduced a bill to legalize assisted suicide in Utah, attempted to derail the bill.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.