Thursday, January 21, 2010

Montana's Legislature Aims to Make Aid in Dying Illegal.

Everyone who's been watching the events unfolding in Montana - the state Supreme Court's ruling on New Year's Eve that aid in dying is not prevented by any existing laws - know that "pro-life" forces have been working double time the past year to pressure legislators to now moot the court's ruling by introducing laws that make aid in dying illegal.

From OneNewsNow, a bit of insight into what players in state government are working to shape the court's ruling and patients' rights this session:

The Montana legislature will be dealing with the subject of doctor-assisted suicide next session as one lawmaker has already taken action.

After the Montana Supreme Court legalized mercy killings and threw the decision back to the legislature, Republican Senator Greg Hinkle introduced a bill to ban it. He believes the measure would pass in the Senate, but the House is split 50/50.

"So the odds of that passing there are probably slim because usually the Democrats will lock up and all vote the same way, of course," Hinkle predicts. "But by the time this rolls around, that whole thing could change if the balance changes in the House."

That balance-shift is possible because there will be an election before the next legislative session, which starts a year from now.

"That's one of the reasons why I wanted to introduce this bill right that the candidates can use it as a campaign issue," the state senator explains. "But also the people can question candidates and [ask] 'Where do you stand on prohibiting physician-assisted suicide?' And that'll really put candidates in a spot because they're either going to have to be for it or against it."

Hinkle further adds that ten senators have served as long as the law allows, so those seats will be up for grabs. He expects the election could be a free-for-all.

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