Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hinkle: Aid in Dying is Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Senator Greg Hinkle responded to an article by Victor Lieberman in The Missoulian on Oct 13, 2010

Hinkle stated:
Victor Lieberman, who claims that aid in dying is not euthanasia needs a dictionary or a history lesson.

In the 1980's law students in Iowa drafted a model euthanasia act called the “Model Aid-in-Dying Act.” The act, was published in the Iowa Law Review.

The foreward to the Model Aid-in-Dying Act contains a discussion of euthanasia and how the act was written. Moreover, it defines “aid-in-dying” as euthanasia. It states that “aid-in-dying means ... the administration of a qualified drug for the purpose of inducing death.”

In 1991, there was an aid-in-dying initiative in Washington State. If passed, it would have legalized euthanasia in the state of Washington.

More recently, the Montana Supreme Court gave doctors who participate in aid in dying a potential defense to criminal prosecution. When doing so, the Court described aid in dying in terms of a doctor providing the means for a patient’s death, but not directly participating in the death. This is physician-assisted suicide, not euthanasia. But how long will that distinction be remembered? The term “aid in dying” also means euthanasia.

Lieberman also claims that aid in dying is legal in Montana, which is not the case. The Supreme Court’s opinion is limited to giving a doctor, and only a doctor, a potential defense against a homicide charge. The opinion offers no protection against civil liability.

Aid in dying is, regardless, a recipe for elder abuse. For that reason, it should be prohibited in Montana. I hope the readers will support my bill to do just that.

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