An activist judge in Montana rules that patients have the right to assisted suicide.

Ron Panzer
Dec. 9, 2008
Reproduced with Permission

Dear Friends,

Instead of a citizen-based statewide referendum on the issue, here an activist judge in Montana rules that patients have the right to assisted suicide. It will be appealed to the State Supreme Court most likely and probably further. Another case of activist judges legislating from the bench, just like the Roe v. Wade US Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. See article below.

Assisted-suicide is just a stepping stone to the real goal of the very active eugenics and euthanasia movement: mandatory death when determined by those in power, just as was done in Nazi Germany during severe economic difficulties. The financial motivation to kill the vulnerable elderly and disabled is only increasing, and the likelihood they will be killed in ever-increasing numbers is huge. Only a return to a true respect for human dignity and the intrinsic value of each person's life will stop this tide of darkness sweeping our nation.

Best wishes!

If people contemplate and really see the sanctity of life, their "quality of life" arguments fall away and they will understand that we are here to care for each other, not to kill each other. Caring, and not convenience, is the sign of a civilized and just society!

Ron Panzer
for Hospice Patients Alliance

"What I do you cannot do
but what you do, I cannot do.
The needs are great, and none of us,
including me, ever do great things.
But we can all do small things, with great love,
and together we can do something wonderful." - Mother Teresa

The Hospice Patients Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable patient advocacy organization acting to preserve the original hospice mission and to promote quality end-of-life services. For more information, visit Hospice Patients Alliance online or call [616] 866-9127.

The information provided by Hospice Patients Alliance is provided in the spirit of consumer advocacy in the belief that informed consumers of health care are best able to access quality care. Hospice Patients Alliance does not provide legal or medical advice. If you are seeking legal or medical advice, then a competent and experienced attorney or physician should be consulted.

article follows:

Montana judge: Man has right to assisted suicide
By AMY BETH HANSON Associated Press
Dec. 6, 2008, 5:16PM

HELENA, Mont. - A Montana judge has ruled that doctor-assisted suicides are legal in the state, a decision likely to be appealed as the state argues that the Legislature, not the court, should decide whether terminally ill patients have the right to take their own life.

Judge Dorothy McCarter issued the ruling late Friday in the case of a Billings man with terminal cancer, who had sued the state with four physicians that treat terminally ill patients and a nonprofit patients' rights group.

"The Montana constitutional rights of individual privacy and human dignity, taken together, encompass the right of a competent terminally (ill) patient to die with dignity," McCarter said in the ruling.

It also said that those patients had the right to obtain self-administered medications to hasten death if they find their suffering to be unbearable, and that physicians can prescribe such medication without fear of prosecution.

"The patient's right to die with dignity includes protection of the patient's physician from liability under the state's homicide statutes," the judge wrote.

Attorney General Mike McGrath said Saturday that attorneys in his office would discuss the ruling next week and expected the state will appeal the ruling.

"It's a major constitutional issue and the Supreme Court should rule on it," said McGrath, who will be sworn in as chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court in January.

The plaintiff, Robert Baxter, said he was comforted by McCarter's ruling.

"I am glad to know that the court respects my choice to die with dignity if my situation becomes intolerable," the 75-year-old retired truck driver said in a statement.

Kathryn Tucker, the legal director of patients' right group Compassion & Choices who helped argue the case, said the court found "it is the individual patients who should be entitled to make these critical decisions for themselves and their families, and not the government."

The state attorney general's office had argued that intentionally taking a life was illegal, and that the issue was the responsibility of the state Legislature.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Anders had argued the state has no evaluation process, safeguards or regulations to provide guidance or oversight for doctor-assisted suicide. The state also said it was premature to declare constitutional rights for a competent, terminally ill patient because the terms "competent" or "terminally ill" had yet to be defined.

The ruling noted that doctors are often asked to "determine the competency of their patients for the purposes of guardianship and other legal proceedings."

"Whether a patient is terminally ill can also be determined by the physician as an integral component of the physician-patient relationship," McCarter wrote.

McCarter's ruling makes Montana the third state after Oregon and Washington to allow doctor-assisted suicides. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that terminally ill patients have no constitutional right to doctor-assisted suicide but did nothing to prevent states from legalizing the process.

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