It’s my life. It’s going to be my death. It should be my choice.
Montanans are independent. Montanans are thoughtful. They believe in privacy. That’s why the Montana constitution is written to guarantee personal privacy and dignity. Terminally ill Montanans are guaranteed the right to choice, privacy, and dignity at the end of life.
Montana is one of five states that have affirmed end-of-life choice for its residents. On December 31, 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled terminally ill Montanans have the right to choose aid in dying under state law. Compassion & Choices Montana is working with medical professionals and citizen activists to educate the public, implement the practice with appropriate safeguards and protect the right of Montanans to die with dignity.
Our End-of-Life Consultation service is helping patients, families and medical practitioners understand aid in dying and navigate the emotional and clinical landscape of terminal illness. Clinicians are visiting Montana to share their experience with colleagues and the public. A growing league of volunteers is helping to spread the word, person-to-person, through their local media and by contacting legislators.
The response from average Montanans has been overwhelming: government should stay out of the medical decisions between a doctor and a mentally competent, terminally ill adult. Montanans want their legislature to respect the Supreme Court’s decision, and preserve patients’ end-of-life choice, while providing safeguards to ensure free, informed patient choice, and protection for physicians who honor those choices..
A poll in March, 2010
, showed overwhelming opposition to legislation that would criminalize aid in dying.
Information for Montanans
Are you, a family member or someone you know, facing a terminal illness??
Are you a Montana medical provider interested in information about physician aid in dying in your state?
Contact email@example.com to request an Aid in Dying Information Packet. Please be sure to put "Montana Aid In Dying Packet" in the subject line.
Voices of Montana
Baxter v. Montana
Robert Baxter, a marine veteran, outdoorsman and career long haul truck driver was suffering from lymphocytic leukemia when he, along with four Montana doctors and Compassion & Choices, filed a case seeking recognition that the right to choose aid in dying is protected by the Montana Constitution’s guarantees of privacy, dignity and equal protection. Compassion and Choices Legal Director Kathryn Tucker and Missoula litigation attorney Mark S. Connell were co-counsel for this case.
On December 5, 2008, Mr. Baxter died of his illness just hours after District Court Judge Dorothy McCarter ruled that “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.” The Montana Attorney General appealed Judge McCarter’s ruling.
On December 31st, 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled terminally ill Montanans have the right to choose aid in dying under state law. There is no further appeal from this decision, as the Montana Supreme Court is the highest court available to decide State issues.
Read more about Baxter v. Montana.
My father fought to win the right to die with dignity; now, I’m fighting to keep it.
(Photo of Roberta King with Bob Baxter)