Tuesday, June 28, 2011

State-sanctioned suicide empowers the government

Bradley Williams was published in the Montana Standard yesterday. Williams points out that assisted suicide is not legal in Montana and that sanctioning assisted suicide does not grant new rights for the individual but rather rights for the state. Laws need to be maintained that protect people from assisted suicide.

I am the coordinator of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide and For Living with Dignity. I write to make two points.

First, to clarify: Physician-assisted suicide is not legal in Montana. A bill that would have accomplished that goal was defeated in our last legislative session.

During hearings on that bill, the sponsor, Senator Anders Blewett, a lawyer, conceded that assisted suicide is not legal in Montana. His quotes include:
"Under the current law, a - there's nothing to protect the doctor from prosecution."

Dr. Stephen Speckart, mentioned in Ms. Kimball's letter, made a similar concession. He stated:
"Most physicians feel significant dis-ease with the limited safeguards and possible risk of prosecution after the Baxter decision."

To view a transcript of these quotes, go online.

Second, in Oregon, where assisted-suicide is legal, legalization has allowed the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) to steer patients to suicide. The most well-known cases involve Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. Each wanted treatment. The plan offered them assisted suicide instead; Wagner and Stroup were steered to suicide.

Moreover, it was the Oregon health plan, a government entity, doing the steering. State-sanctioned suicide empowers the government, not the individual.

If anyone would like to help keep assisted suicide out of Montana, please contact me.

Bradley D. Williams
Montanans Against Assisted Suicide and For Living with Dignity
610 N. 1st St., Ste 5-285
Hamilton Montana.

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