Montana Judge Okays Doctor-Assisted Suicide

A judge in Montana has ruled doctor-assisted end of life choices are legal.

In her ruling, Judge McCarter wrote that “the Montana constitutional rights of individual privacy and human dignity” give a mentally competent person who is terminally ill the right to “die with dignity.”

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

It's hard to fathom anyone would challenge such a basic human right, but the state is expected to appeal.

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    Dead people don't pay tithings to the church (none / 0) (#1)
    by BruceM on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 11:11:33 PM EST
    Yes it is hard to fathom how anyone would challenge such a basic human right, but some Christian banging a bible 2,000 miles away will yell and scream about it.  Religions don't like their followers killing themselves, because it's bad for business.  Coke, Microsoft, and Ford don't like their customers killing themselves either, but they're not in a position to claim moral authority on the matter.  Unfortunately, that's what religions do.  They should all be ashamed of themselves, and I hope that anyone who tries to deny a dying, suffering person from ending their life with the smallest modicum of dignity suffers an even worse, more painful and protracted death (as long as they don't get off on it).

    Am I imagining things or have there been (none / 0) (#2)
    by hairspray on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 11:23:18 PM EST
    some stunning decisions by women judges in the last few weeks?  Are we getting to some critical mass in the judicial system with regards to  women?  I often wondered if women jurists were going to be more socially responsible, but there were so few visible females.

    they can't let this go unchallenged, (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:22:19 AM EST
    were this ruling to stand, it would make it difficult to then argue that women don't have the right to make the personal decision regarding whether or not to have an abortion.

    The two points (none / 0) (#4)
    by Fabian on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 06:23:36 AM EST
    I diverge from Pro Life philosophy are abortion and euthanasia.  Abortion because I don't think a fetus is an actual human life.  Euthanasia because I believe in dignity in life and death.  Medical technology, some of it very invasive, can keep a human body going for a very long time.  If you want the very best in medical technology keeping you alive for as long as possible, fine by me.   If you do not want to prolong your existence any longer, then the government should not punish anyone for your decision.

    that's a little different.... (none / 0) (#5)
    by BruceM on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 06:55:57 AM EST
    Well that's not really the issue.  Everyone agrees that you have the right to refuse life-extending medical treatment, thus dying from starvation or suffocation or just natural causes after extensive pain.  The issue is whether you have the right to actively obtain and ingest medication which will quickly, peacefully, and painlessly put you to sleep and end your suffering quickly and mercifully.  Note that all such medications will be controlled substances - either barbiturates or opioids, which adds another wrinkle to it.  Of course, dead people don't need to be concerned about addiction, so that's only an issue to irrational drug warriors.

    This is such a simple issue - we should treat people with the same dignity we treat suffering animals.  Only selfish, greedy Christians get in the way, with the intent to prolong agony and suffering because Jesus suffered on the cross, so you should suffer, too.  Plus, like I said before, dead people don't put money in the collection tray at church (though they might leave money to their church in their wills... but it makes more financial sense to keep your customers alive.  Religion is a big business just like any other.


    In my family (none / 0) (#6)
    by Fabian on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:28:45 AM EST
    at least one person has opted to discontinue medical treatment for terminal cancer in part to spare his family the financial burden.  This was before any assisted suicide cases and long before hospice care was an option.  

    The church isn't going to get any more money from people who are alive and foundering financially from medical expenses.

    I know the whole money aspect is something that is considered taboo or at least graceless to talk about.  But my mother would be just as horrified by any needless expense to extend her dying as she would to be trapped in a body that allowed her only an existence, but not a life.


    It's been my personal experience... (none / 0) (#7)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:58:17 PM EST
    ...that people facing end-of-life decisions have long ago had their dignity stripped by the ravages of their disease(s) and/or treatment for the disease(s).  

    The more important factor is the mental one--the crushing depression that comes with your own body betraying you and the helplessness and terror that goes along with that.  Combined with the unending, constant pain, it becomes too heavy burden to carry at some point--and brings out the longing for it all to go away.  Dignity is the last thing on your mind at that point--it is a (non) quality of life issue.  

    People being people, the ones who love and care the most don't ever what to see those close to them die.  That's perhaps the greatest obsticle to allowing people to say "I've had enough".  It is a very natural thing--driven somewhat by guilt (i.e., we should/could have done more), hope (i.e., there's got to be something we can do) denial (i.e, they're too young) and to a degree, selfishness (i.e., they're my X, I need them around).  

    That is why I've made sure that my EOL wishes are known and understood by my family and loved ones--something that everyone should take the time to do.

    The church and government--or any other outsider should have no say in the matter. It is a private matter to be decided among the patient, their loved ones and their doctor.

    agreed. (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:23:40 PM EST
    The church and government--or any other outsider should have no say in the matter. It is a private matter to be decided among the patient, their loved ones and their doctor.

    then the issue of rationality raises its ugly head. the argument will be that no rational person wishes to die, anyone who so chooses is clearly not rational.



    That's why it is... (none / 0) (#9)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:31:33 PM EST
    ...so important to get those things down in writing before the need arises, including what happens to your body after you die.  

    Interestingly enough, life insurers can't use the rationality arguement to defend against suicide claims after the exclusionary period.