Montana Advance Directive
State-specific advance directives make clear your end-of-life preferences if you are unable to make or communicate medical treatment decisions yourself. For the Montana advance directive form, click here.
In 2007, Bob Baxter, suffering from lymphocytic leukemia, served as lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Compassion & Choices. Baxter asked the courts to affirm his legal right to die in a peaceful and dignified manner by taking medication prescribed by his doctor for that purpose.
Medical aid in dying became available in Montana when the state Supreme Court ruled in Baxter’s favor, in 2009, finding that “[The] Rights of the Terminally Ill Act clearly provides that terminally ill patients are entitled to autonomous end-of-life decisions.”
In March 2013, Dr. Eric Kress became the first physician to speak publicly about providing medical aid in dying via testimony and a statewide newspaper editorial that received national attention in the New York Times. Dr. Kress’s testimony during legislative hearings helped defeat two bills that would have criminalized physicians like him.
In July 2014, Montana disability rights advocate Dustin Hankinson was featured in a video marking the Americans With Disabilities Act; New Mobility Magazine for wheelchair users published an editorial making a historic move from opposed to neutral on the issue of medical aid in dying.
2014 also marked the five year anniversary of the Baxter decision and prompted the production of Five Years of Dignity; a magazine detailing the progress of the end-of-life care movement in Montana.
During the 2015 legislative session in Montana, once again, advocates had to defend their access to medical aid in dying. Two bills that would repeal the Baxter Decision, HB 477 and HB 328, were successfully defeated by our intrepid volunteers and supporters.
On February 21, 2017, Rep. Brad Tschida introduced a draconian new bill (HB 536) that seeks to outlaw medical aid in dying in Montana and impose harsh penalties, including prison time, for doctors who participate. Once again, C&C advocates prevailed by narrowly defeating HB 536 by a 50-50 vote on the house floor. Unexpectedly, later in the session, SB 360, sponsored by Sen Al Olszewski, MD was introduced. SB 360 was a similar effort to criminalize physicians for providing a medical aid-in-dying prescription. It died in the Senate Judiciary committee in a bipartisan 4-7 vote.
Montana Polling Global Strategy Group Survey (April 2013) —Seven out of 10 Montana voters (69%) support allowing a mentally competent adult who is dying of a terminal disease and in extreme pain to choose to end his or her life in a humane and dignified way.