Healthcare News & Insights

State offers lukewarm approval for assisted suicide

A recent ruling by the Montana Supreme Court was seen as a win for proponents of physician-assisted suicide. But it stopped short of declaring the practice a right.

In the case, which was watched closely by medical professionals around the country, the court ruled 4-3 that physicians were protected from prosecution in cases where they have helped terminally ill patients end their life.

But the court refused to go further and declare assisted suicide a right protected by the state constitution. That leaves the issue to be decided by the state legislature — which is more sensitive to pressure from various advocacy groups.

Currently, only two states, Oregon and Washington, have officially protected the right of the terminally ill to choose physician-assisted suicide.

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