The Right to Die Free in Montana

Montana Court to Rule on Assisted Suicide Case
Kirk Johnson, New York Times (September 01, 2009)

Since July I have been posting stories on Right-to-Die cases in England. Those posts involved Edward and Joan Downes (who traveled together to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland to die) and Debbie Purdy who successfully fought a campaign to have England’s assisted suicide law changed.

Now it is America’s turn and in the great state of Montana no less. State motto: Oro y Plata…which means Gold and Silver in Spanish. I know.

I will let the Billings Gazette take the lead, with the August 29, 2009 article, State Appealing District Court Judge’s Ruling Favoring Assisted Suicide:

Robert Baxter, a 76-year-old former truck driver from Billings, spent his last months fighting for the right to hasten his own death.

Robert Baxter

Baxter was the Montana face and only named terminally ill patient in a legal case that sought to legalize physician-assisted suicide; he wanted doctors to prescribe him medication that would bring about his death and end his struggle with chronic leukemia.

Baxter died Dec. 5, 2008, the same day that Helena District Judge Dorothy McCarter ruled that the Montana Constitution protected the right of terminal patients like him to obtain lethal prescriptions from physicians.

This is an interesting case to watch because it involves the Montana State Supreme Court ruling on whether or not assisted suicide is legal. The other two American states with assisted dying laws, Oregon and Washington, both passed those laws by popular vote.

As always, I will keep my eyes on this case.

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