A bill that would ban medical aid in dying — HB 284 — was defeated on second reading in the Montana Senate by a vote of 27-22 on April 5, 2019. 

Compassion & Choices was instrumental in establishing Montana as the first state to authorize medical aid in dying through a court challenge. On December 31, 2009, Montana’s highest court ruled in Baxter v. Montana, a case brought by Compassion & Choices and four Montana doctors, that physicians are authorized under state law to provide medical aid in dying.

Compassion & Choices has worked since 2009 to fend off challenges to Montana’s law and continues working to protect the Baxter ruling from lawmakers and opponents seeking to take away the rights it affords to the state’s residents. In 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 360, a bill that sought to undermine the Baxter v. Montana decision. Supporters sprung into action, including terminally-ill advocate TJ Mutchler, the courageous grandson of Bob Baxter, who was the original plaintiff in the Baxter v. Montana case. Watch a video of TJ and his mother, Leslie Mutchler, here. Compassion & Choices is proud that the bill did not advance, and we continue to monitor threats to Montana’s law.  

The 2019 legislative session began January 7, 2019, and the session’s first legislative attempt to challenge the Baxter ruling (HB 284) was filed shortly thereafter.

The 2019 “Physician Imprisonment Act” would have criminalized physicians who honor their patients’ final wishes by prescribing medical aid-in-dying medication. It was passed by the Montana House of Representatives before failing in the Senate

While we have been successful in this latest challenge, we still need your help to protect the Baxter ruling. Montana’s legislative session ends on May 1. Please sign our 2019 petition, and let us know if you can volunteer to protect access to medical aid in dying in Montana or send an email to [email protected].

Get more information about Montana.