Monday, January 28, 2019

Montana bill (HB 284) would prohibit assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For the past few years Montanans have faced a confusing situation concerning assisted suicide. In 2009, the Baxter court decision declared that Montana citizens had a right to assisted suicide. The Baxter decision was appealed to the Montana Supreme Court where it was decided that Montana citizens do not have a right to assisted suicide but even but the Court granted a tightly worded defense of consent, if a physician was prosecuted for assisted suicide.
Physician-Assisted Suicide is not legal in Montana.
Since the Montana Supreme Court decision, the assisted suicide lobby has claimed that assisted suicide is legal in Montana, while in fact assisted suicide is technically prohibited.

This year House Bill 284 was introduced to reverse the effect of the Montana Supreme Court decision by clarifying that consent is ineffective for homicide or assisted suicide. HB 284 states:

Section 1. Section 45-2-211, MCA, is amended to read: "45-2-211. Consent as defense. 
(1) The consent of the victim to conduct charged to constitute an offense or to the result thereof is a defense. 
(2) Consent is ineffective if:
(a) it is given by a person who is legally incompetent to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the offense;
(b) it is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or disorder, or intoxication is unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the offense;
(c) it is induced by force, duress, or deception; or
(d) it is against public policy to permit the conduct or the resulting harm, even though consented to.
(3) (a) For the purposes of subsection (2)(d), physician aid in dying is against public policy, and a patient's consent to physician aid in dying is not a defense to a charge of homicide against the aiding physician.
(b) For the purposes of this subsection (3), "physician aid in dying" means an act by a physician of prescribing a lethal dose of medication to a patient that the patient may self-administer to end the patient's life. The term does not include an act of withholding or withdrawing a life-sustaining treatment or procedure authorized pursuant to Title 50, chapter 9 or 10."
Two years ago, a similar bill lost on a tie vote.


BradleyMTaas said...

8am Hearing in Montana House Judiciary on HB284. Send your emails to the entire Committee at
Your email will be transcribed to a hard copy and hand delivered to their desk in Chambers. You are all Montanans now.

ClearConscience said...

Please do not approve or give favor to any form of assisted suicide. Every person has trouble in their life. We as responsible Americans are to help them through it, not help kill them. Listen carefully to your conscience, not a hardened argument for a twisted form of compassion and "rights". Who will you answer to in the end for your vote?

Katherine Bratches said...

This is not Assisted Suicide. It is a compassionate Choice between a patient with a terminal illness with a limited amount of time left on earth to be evaluated and found to be of sound mind by his/her physician. As seen in other States- Oregon and Washington , utilization of this option is low. The majority of the American people support this choice, free will.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Katherine: I am happy to share parts of the Fatal Flaws film with you.

Katherine M Bratches said...

Showing me your film isn't necessary. Having worked in Health Care for 20+ years and in End - of - Life Care for the majority of my career, I have seen my fill of immense pain and suffering of patients and their families. Having been in WA State when their law was enacted, we found the same statistics as other states- patients want the choice (73% of Americans support it) but do not go through with it when their symptoms are well managed usually if they are fortunate enough to have Hospice care.
Please vote against HB 284- it is not the government's role to dictate what is decided upon between a physician and his/her patient.