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Arizona bill targets assisted suicide

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Senate has given initial approval to a bill that aims to make it easier to prosecute people who help someone commit suicide.

Republican Rep. Justin Pierce of Mesa says his bill will make it easier for attorneys to prosecute people for manslaughter for assisting in suicide by more clearly defining what it means to ``assist.''

House Bill 2565 defines assisting in suicide as providing the physical means used to commit suicide, such as a gun. The bill originally also defined assisted suicide as ``offering'' the means to commit suicide, but a Senate amendment omitted that word.

The proposal was prompted by a difficult prosecution stemming from a 2007 assisted suicide in Maricopa County.

The Senate gave initial approval on Wednesday. It must still cast a full roll-call vote.

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