Utah House passes bill criminalizing physician-assisted suicide

The Utah House passed a bill Tuesday to amend the state's manslaughter law to include physician-assisted suicide, making the act a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The bill, which passed 51 votes to 18, was a response to a recent case in the state in which an 18 year-old man encouraged his 16 year-old friend to commit suicide, including buying her the materials and filming her death on his cell phone.

However, some lawmakers expressed concern that the bill could limit the ability of physicians to prescribe medication that could ease a patient's suffering but also shorten their life. Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D, said aid-in-dying does not qualify as suicide.

"Honoring a terminally ill patient's request to have medication at hand to use at their discretion, if they so choose, is not suicide," said. Ms. Chavez-Houck, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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