Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bradley Williams Uses Coombs Lee's Own Words to Impeach her.

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/assisted-suicide-aid-in-dying-not-legal-in-montana/article_74b90390-44c3-11e4-84c0-471ac6661b95.html

This is my response to Barbara Coombs Lee’s rebuttal of my guest column, “Assisted Suicide is not legal, not the answer.” 
Coombs Lee is the president of Compassion and Choices and a former “managed care executive.” See maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/coombsleebio.pdf.
My guest column described how she and her organization tout themselves as promoters of individual choice when their actual mission is to reduce patient access to cures and to promote patient suicide as an alternative “treatment.” As proof, I used her own words from an opinion piece she had written in Oregon’s largest paper.
Therein, Coombs Lee had defended Oregon’s Medicaid program, which had declined to cover a cancer treatment for a patient named Barbara Wagner, and in lieu thereof, offered to cover Wagner’s “aid in dying” suicide. Coombs Lee also argued against Wagner’s choice to be treated and argued for a public policy change to discourage people from seeking cures generally. See her opinion piece here: maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/barbaracoombsleeagainstwagner1.pdf.
Coombs Lee’s rebuttal to my guest column does not deny that she defended Medicaid or that she argued for a public policy to discourage cures. Rather, she continues and reiterates these themes. Her rebuttal also claims that “aid in dying” is legal under Montana’s Baxter decision, which is not true. Indeed, this point was conceded by a member of her own organization during the 2011 legislative session.  Dr. Stephen Speckart, who was also a plaintiff in Baxter, testified on the record:
“[M]ost physicians feel significant dis-ease with the limited safeguards and possible risk of criminal prosecution after the Baxter decision.” 
https://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/speckharttestimony.pdf 
Sen. Anders Blewett, D-Great Falls, a lawyer, offered a similar opinion, that “there’s nothing to protect the doctor from prosecution.”  See transcript at  http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/blewett_speckhart_trans_001.pdf
Assisted suicide is not legal and not the answer for Montana. Don’t be fooled.
Bradley D. Williams, president,
Montanans Against Assisted Suicide,
Hamilton

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Assisted suicide has broader application to people who aren't at "end of life"

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/assisted-suicide-has-broader-application-to-people-who-aren-t/article_ac55a646-3843-11e4-a89b-001a4bcf887a.html


I was, however, disappointed with the headline given to Friesen’s letter, which implies that assisted suicide legalization only affects people at the “end of life.” This is not true for at least two reasons.

First, in places where legalization has been proposed, “eligibility” requirements are not limited to people at the end of life. Consider, for example, Montana’s Baxter case where Compassion & Choices proposed legal assisted suicide for “terminally ill adult patients.” A formal opinion letter by Dr. Richard Wonderly and attorney Theresa Schrempp attaches a two-page copy of that proposal and states:
“Shockingly, this definition is broad enough to include an 18-year-old who is insulin dependent or . . . a young adult with stable HIV/AIDS. Each of these patients could live for decades with appropriate medical treatment. Yet, they are “terminally ill” according to the definition promoted by advocates of assisted suicide.”
http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/schrempp_wonderly_opn_ltr1.pdf

Second, even if an assisted suicide law is limited to persons expected to die in a short time, there is the problem that predictions of life expectancy can be wrong. I have seen this in my own practice.

Consider also John Norton, who was diagnosed with ALS and told that he would get progressively worse (be paralyzed) and die in three to five years. He instead has a “wonderful life” 57 years later. His affidavit states:
“If assisted suicide or euthanasia had been available to me in the 1950s, I would have missed the bulk of my life and my life yet to come.“
https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/signed-john-norton-affidavit_001.pdf
Carley C. Robertson,
Havre

Friday, September 19, 2014

Convicted rapist charged with ‘aiding or soliciting suicide’ of victim

http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/convicted-rapist-charged-with-aiding-or-soliciting-suicide-of-victim/article_65c2f39c-ae01-5104-a279-da45b352ef42.html

September 18, 2014 6:00 am  •  


A Roundup man in Montana State Prison for having sex with an underage girl is facing a new charge alleging he pressured the girl to kill herself during a live video chat in September 2013.

Last week, the Musselshell County Attorney’s Office charged Michael John Morlan, 21, with aiding or soliciting suicide, and two other felonies — intimidation and tampering with witnesses and informants.

It is unclear whether anyone has ever been charged with or convicted of aiding or soliciting suicide in Montana. Musselshell County Attorney Kent M. Sipe was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Charging documents say Morlan contacted the girl, who is now 16 years old, via Skype, an online video-chatting service, on Sept. 1, 2013, and told her to kill herself while he watched.

The documents say Morlan told her he wanted to watch so that he could make sure she was doing it right.

The alleged victim reported to law enforcement that when she started crying, Morlan told her to stop wasting air and get it over with.

Court records, quoting the alleged victim, detail a back-and-forth conversation between the two in which Morlan repeatedly told her to kill herself and pressured her to continue as she cut herself and took prescription anti-depressants.

When she started cutting her wrists, Morlan told her to cut deeper, she said. The girl said she had prescription anti-depressants and put them in her hand. When she did this, she said, Morlan told her to take all of them.

She said she took the pills and then panicked, disconnected the Skype call and went to her parents for help.

About a year prior to this incident, Morlan had been charged with two felony counts of sexual intercourse without consent involving the same girl.

The charges alleged that Morlan had a sexual relationship with her from April 2011 — when she was 12 years old — through July 2012 and that he admitted to law enforcement that he digitally penetrated the girl on July 25, 2012.

Morlan was apparently out of jail after posting bond at the time he is accused of trying to coerce the girl to kill herself.

The girl reported that in August 2013, Morlan stalked and intimidated her when she tried to avoid communication with him.

She said he threatened to make her life miserable if she went to police and told her he had people watching her.

The girl told investigators that while at the youth center in Roundup a person, identified in charging documents as B.K., came up to her and told her to “quit telling everyone that Mickey raped you.”

In November, Morlan pleaded guilty to the two rape charges. District Judge Randal I. Spaulding sentenced him to 15 years in prison, with eight years suspended.

The judge also revoked Morlan’s sentence in a 2011 felony drug distribution case and sentenced him to an additional five-year commitment.

Morlan, who is being held at the state prison, is scheduled for arraignment in Musselshell County District Court on Sept. 22.

Aiding or soliciting suicide caries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Oregon doctor's experience leads him to warn Montanans not to accept assisted suicide

http://ravallirepublic.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_df457041-2d8f-5c56-92c8-05d08616234d.html


Dear Editor:

I am the doctor cited by Bradley Williams in his opinion piece, “Assisted suicide is not legal, not the answer.” (Aug. 21). I am also professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Oregon Health & Science University. I have treated thousands of patients with cancer.

Williams correctly describes how Oregon’s Medicaid program uses coverage incentives to steer patients to assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon. In other words, Medicaid will not necessarily cover a patient’s treatment to potentially cure a disease or to extend the patient’s life. The program will cover the patient’s suicide. Desired treatments for cure or to extend life are thereby displaced with the “treatment” of suicide.

I first became involved with the assisted suicide issue shortly before my first wife died of cancer in 1982. We had just made what would be her last visit with her doctor. As we were leaving, he had suggested that she overdose herself on medication. I still remember the look of horror on her face. She said, “Ken, he wants me to kill myself.”

To learn more about how assisted suicide works in Oregon, please see my affidavit filed in Montanans Against Assisted Suicide vs. Montana Board of Medical Examiners.  The affidavit, with supporting documentation attached, can be viewed here:  https://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/dr-stevens-affidavit_001.pdf .

Protect your health care. Don’t let legal assisted suicide come to Montana.

Kenneth Stevens,
Sherwood, Oregon