Saturday, October 25, 2014

Former Montana legislator now opposes assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Jim Shockley, a former member of the Montana legislature, was published in the Revalli Republic newspaper in response to a pro-assisted suicide letter. Shockley explaining that, in the past, he had supported assisted suicide but he changed his mind after looking at the evidence.

Shockley, a lawyer and a former candidate for Attorney General in Montana first commented on the legality of assisted suicide in Montana. He wrote:

William Clarke is wrong about the legality of assisted suicide, and his definition of suicide, as described in his letter of Oct. 15, 2014. Physician assisted suicide is against the law in Montana and killing oneself is suicide regardless of your health. The present law is the Baxter case which says that under certain circumstances a physician who assisted someone to kill herself/himself has a defense to a charge of homicide. It is a defense if the doctor is charged with homicide, that does not make it legal. If the doctor is charged with homicide and can convince a jury of certain facts, he will not be convicted. If he fails to do so, he is convicted of a felony. Of course, there is the civil liability of the doctor, which is not addressed at all by Mr. Clarke.
Shockley then commented on why he now opposes assisted suicide. He wrote:
Legalizing physician-assisted suicide will lead to elder abuse and other problems as described by Bradley Williams in his recent letter. The American Medical Association is against physician-assisted suicide for the same reason I am. It will lead to abuse of the elderly and others who are infirm, mentally or physically, but not really “terminally ill.” Or it will be used by people who are not in pain, or not in pain that can be cared for with medication. As an example, the much touted Oregon law allows ordinary diabetes to be considered a terminally ill disease; my great grandmother died at 97 after being diagnosed with diabetes several years before.
Shockley is only one of many people who oppose assisted suicide after learning how legalizing assisted suicide effects society.

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