Loading
Terminally ill patients in Montana have ‘right’ to physician-assisted suicide
Terminally ill patients in Montana have ‘right’ to physician-assisted suicide

.- Last Friday Montana became the third state to legalize doctor-assisted suicide when a judge ruled that physicians could prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients without the threat of criminal prosecution.

According to the Associated Press, Judge Dorothy McCarter declared that mentally “competent, terminally ill patients” may self-administer life ending medication and that physicians who prescribe the medications need not fear criminal prosecution.

The decision will likely be appealed by the state so Montana’s Legislature can decide whether or not terminally ill patients can take their own life.

The case of Baxter et al. v. Montana was filed in November 2007 by Robert Baxter, a 75 year-old retired truck driver from Billings, Montana who suffers from lymphocytic leukemia and has a history of prostate cancer, hypertension and gastroesophageal reflux disease.  Along with Baxter, the other plaintiffs listed are four physicians and a non-profit patients’ rights group called Compassion & Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society.

In the late Friday ruling, Judge McCarter stated that the “Montana constitutional rights of individual privacy and human dignity, taken together, encompass the right of a competent terminally (ill) patient to die with dignity.”

She went on to say that those patients had the right to hasten death through self-administered medications.  Additionally, physicians can prescribe this medication without the threat of prosecution.

In a statement, the AP reports, Baxter said he was “glad to know that the court respects my choice to die with dignity if my situation becomes intolerable.”

He also explained in Compassion & Choices Magazine that a patient’s right to die has “always been a very important thing to me.”

“I've just watched people suffer so badly when they died, and it goes on every day. You can just see it in their eyes: Why am I having to go through this terrible part of my life, when we do it for animals? We put them out of their misery,” reports World Net Daily.

"I just feel if we can do it for animals, we can do it for human beings,” Baxter argued.

The state attorney general’s office contended that taking a life intentionally is illegal and that any decisions regarding the issues are the responsibility of the state Legislature. 

The AP reports that Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Anders argued that Montana currently lacks an evaluation process and regulations to provide guidance for physician-assisted suicide.  She also pointed out that the terms “competent” and “terminally ill” have not been defined.

The judge’s decision stated that doctors would both determine the competency of their patients and whether or not the patient is terminally ill.

An attorney who specializes in bioethics issues, Wesley J. Smith, told Life News that the decision was a broad ruling that “logically couldn’t be limited to physician assisted suicide or the terminally ill.”

Smith claimed that the judge “went further than somebody's right to commit suicide, which is an individual action. She declared that the person who wants to die has the right to help."

"The example here is of a physician writing a prescription. But her ruling went even farther than that--it shielded assisting doctors from homicide laws. It seems to me that language has to open the door to active euthanasia.”

This decision could lead the way for non-doctors assisting in suicides similar to the way the state allows nurses to perform abortions.

The Diocese of Helena was not able to immediately provide CNA with a statement regarding the decision.

Montana now joins its northwest neighbors Oregon and Washington as the only three states to allow doctor-assisted suicides.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Jul
25

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Gospel
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »

Saint
Date
07/25/14
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Homily
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: