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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.

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.”

History

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.

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.

Resources

Baxter et al v. Montana

/ February 23, 2017

Mother of Son Who Utilized Medical Aid in Dying to Testify Against Bill to Make Doctors Who Offer It Liable for Homicide

(HELENA, MONTANA — Feb. 23, 2017) A woman whose father, Bob Baxter, led the successful legal fight to authorize medical aid in dying as a peaceful option to end unbearable suffering for terminally ill adults in Montana, will testify tomorrow against a bill to ban the medical practice in the state. Baxter’s daughter, Leslie Mutchler, […]

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