End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Victory for liberty and dignity in Montana!by Sonja

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Liberty and dignity for individuals was affirmed in a Montana courtroom with a victory in the latest case brought by a terminally ill man and four Montana physicians. Compassion & Choices Legal Director Kathryn Tucker teamed with Montana litigator Mark Connell in arguing for Bob Baxter and the physicians.

Judge Dorothy McCarter’s decision holds that mentally competent, terminally ill adults have the right under the Montana Constitution to a peaceful death with dignity.  McCarter’s ruling is an enormous victory for proponents of liberty and choice at the end of life.

The judge’s ruling includes an important piece for doctors:

McCarter’s ruling holds that mentally competent terminally ill Montanans have a right to obtain medications that can be self-administered to bring about a peaceful death if they find their suffering to be unbearable.

“The patient’s right to die with dignity includes protection of the patient’s physician from liability under the state’s homicide statutes,” the judge wrote.

The decision is expected to be appealed.

It’s truly an exciting time for our movement. Just a year ago, Oregon was the only state to have an aid-in-dying law.  There are now THREE states that have the right of choice for dignity at the end of life with the passage of Initiative 1000 in Washington and this decision in Montana.

We are now at the tipping point for expanding choice at the end of life to include aid in dying.