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C&C Magazine

Aid in Dying in Montana

On December 31, 2009, Montana’s highest court ruled in Baxter v. Montana, a case brought by Compassion & Choices, that physicians are authorized under state law to provide aid in dying; that is, to prescribe medication that a terminally ill adult can take voluntarily to shorten their dying process should the suffering become unbearable.

It’s been more than five years since Baxter, and Montana physicians are providing medication for dying people who request it.

Compassion & Choices Montana continues working to protect Baxter from lawmakers seeking to take away the rights it affords to the state’s residents. Montanans who want to defend access to death with dignity are sharing their powerful stories with lawmakers through a portrait and six simple words describing their support for aid in dying.

The history of aid in dying in Montana is as multifaceted as it is inspiring. Five Years of Dignity: The Baxter Ruling and End-of-Life Freedom in Montana highlights key moments leading up to the historic ruling and chronicles the challenges that Baxter has already withstood. This report features Montanans affected by the ruling, including the plaintiffs, a judge and a witness to the peaceful death that aid in dying makes possible. It also documents the broad public support for death with dignity seen in polling numbers, bipartisan votes and the many Montana residents who volunteer to protect the freedoms established by Baxter.

Read the special Compassion & Choices report, Five Years of Dignity: The Baxter Ruling and End-of-Life Freedom in Montana.

Ask Your Doctor

Aid in dying has broad public support across Montana. Compassion & Choices encourages Montanans to ask their doctors if they support the option of medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients — and inform their doctors of their support.