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updated 4/9/2010 2:22:23 PM ET 2010-04-09T18:22:23

Advocates say doctors in Montana have helped at least one patient commit suicide since a court ruled it wasn't illegal. But the state has no way of knowing how many others there may be, who is doing it or even how it is being done.

Montana became the third state to allow physician-assisted suicide when the state Supreme Court ruled at the end of the year there was nothing in Montana law preventing it.

The ruling opened the door for the practice without regulation. Oregon and Washington have laws outlining guidelines and reporting procedures, but Montana authorities say they don't have any such legal authority.

Advocacy group Compassion & Choices said Friday that doctors had performed at least one assisted suicide since the ruling, but would not provide details.

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