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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 Montana continues working to protect Baxter from lawmakers seeking to take away the rights it affords to the state’s residents. Most recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB360, a bill that sought to undermine the Montana Supreme Court’s Baxter v. Montana decision, which protects doctors who provide dying patients with medical aid in dying. We’re thrilled that the bill did not advance, and we continue to monitor threats to Montana’s law.


Medical aid in dying became available in Montana more than seven years ago when the state Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that “[The] Rights of the Terminally Ill Act clearly provides that terminally ill patients are entitled to autonomous end-of-life decisions.”

Compassion & Choices has worked since 2009 to fend of challenges to Montana’s law.

In 2007, Bob Baxter, suffering from lymphocytic leukemia, served as lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by C & C. 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.

In September 2011, friends to C&C Dr. Stephen Speckart and family practitioner Dr. Eric Kress submitted a request to the Board of Medical Examiners (BOME) to integrate aid in dying into the practice of medicine.

In March 2013, Dr. 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.

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 publishes editorial making historic move from opposed to neutral on the issue of aid in dying.

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.

Polling Data

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.


Baxter et al v. Montana

/ March 24, 2017

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing of “Doctor Imprisonment Bill” Showcased Thinly Veiled Attempt to Overturn Baxter v. Montana

(Helena, Mont. – Mar. 24, 2017) — The Montana Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 360 today, a bill introduced by Sen. Albert Olszewski (SD 6), that would allow the state of Montana to charge physicians with murder for writing a prescription for aid-in-dying medication for a terminally ill adult who requests it […]

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/ March 23, 2017

Urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to Oppose SB360

A new bill has been introduced in the State Senate (SB360) that seeks to undermine the Montana Supreme Court’sBaxter v. Montana decision, which protects doctors who provide dying patients with medical aid in dying. SB360 does not attempt to do this by outlawing the practice; as you know, that effort failed earlier this year. Instead, it […]

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