HELENA (AP) — The House is backing a plan to ban physician-assisted suicide in Montana.
The chamber backed House Bill 505 Wednesday in a 54-45 initial vote. Supporters say it is needed to protect elderly people from potential abuse of heirs seeking money.
The Legislature has struggled with physician-assisted suicide since a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that said nothing in state law prohibits it.
The ruling effectively made Montana the third state to legalize the practice. But a lack of regulations or oversight has left lingering questions.
A Senate committee has tabled a measure that would have formally legalized it.
Supporters of physician-assisted suicide argue people have the right to die with dignity when facing certain death.
The proposed ban faces a final House vote before going to the Senate.
(Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, and Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Chinook, voted for the bann on assisted suicide. Rep. Clarena Brockie, D-Harlem, was absent.)