A story in the June 10th issue of The Missoula Independent talks about the effort by Sen. Greg Hinkle, R-Thompson Falls, to overturn the 2009 court decision that opened the door to aid in dying for Montanans.
Legislators on both sides are eager to clarify the Montana Supreme Court’s December ruling that gave physicians a legal defense in prescribing life-ending medication to terminally ill, mentally competent patients. Proponents point to legislation already on the books in Oregon and Washington that provides strict criteria for the practice—psychiatric evaluations, written consent observed by an impartial witness, etc.—as a good starting point for building on the court’s decision.
Hinkle’s talking points are, shall we say, less researched. He’s claimed for weeks that physician-assisted suicide will wrongfully endanger patients who might actually survive their illness. Even patients with stable HIV and years to live could receive a prescription, he says, and he’s gone on record stating that once medication is prescribed, a patient’s life is out of his or her hands. Death is under the control, he says, of a doctor or family member.
Hinkle couldn’t be more wrong.