Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bradley Williams Objects to Attempted Back Door Legalization of Assisted Suicide

With assisted suicide not legal in Montana, Denver-based Compassion & Choices has been resorting to back door methods to try and obtain legalization.  Just last week, Compassion & Choices doctor, Stephen Speckart, wrote a letter to the Montana Board of Medical Examiners in one such attempt.  Bradley Williams' objection below with a link to Speckart's letter below that:

October 5, 2011


Ian Marquand
Executive Director
MT Board of Medical Examiners
(406) 841-2360

Re:     Speckart Request Must be Denied Because Assisted Suicide is Not Legal Under Baxter
Dear Mr. Marquand and Members of the Board:

        I am the Coordinator of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity.  This E-mail responds to Dr. Speckart’s letter claiming that assisted suicide is legal under Baxter and requesting that the Board declare assisted suicide a medical treatment.

        Dr. Speckart’s claim that assisted suicide is legal is untrue.  Please see the written opinions of attorneys Greg Jackson, Matt Bowman and Margaret Dore described and linked below.  Dr. Speckart’s claim is also counter to his own testimony during the 2011 legislative session.  A transcript of that testimony is also described and linked below.

        With assisted suicide not legal, the Board has no basis on which to recognize assisted suicide as a medical treatment.


A.  Greg Jackson and Matt Bowman

        As you may know, Greg Jackson is one of Montana’s most accomplished defense attorneys.  He's handled over 20 homicide cases, and 14 homicide trials, including such high profile cases as the Montana prison riot (5 homicides) and the trial of Nathaniel Bar Jonah.  His analysis of Baxter with attorney Matt Bowman concludes:
"The Montana Supreme Court's assisted suicide decision ... didn't even 'legalize' assisted suicide ... After Baxter, assisted suicide continues to carry both criminal and civil liability risks for any doctor, institution, or lay person involved."
        To view their entire analysis, go here: http://montanansagainstassistedsuicide.blogspot.com/p/baxter-case-analysis.html

B.  Margaret Dore

         Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.  She is also President of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide.  ( www.choiceillusion.org) She was an amicus curie in the Baxter litigation.  She is a former Law Clerk to the Washington State Supreme Court where she clerked for then Chief Justice Vernon Pearson.  Her analysis states:
“Baxter gives doctors who assist a suicide a potential defense to criminal prosecution. Baxter does not legalize assisted suicide by giving doctors or anyone else immunity from criminal and civil liability. Under Baxter, a doctor cannot be assured that a particular suicide will qualify for the defense.
        To view her entire analysis, go here: http://www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org/search/label/Margaret%20Dore

        C.      Dr. Speckart

        During the 2011 Legislative session, Dr. Speckhart testified in support of SB 167, which had sought to legalize assisted suicide in Montana.  He stated: "Most physicians feel significant dis-ease with the limited safeguards and possible risk of criminal prosecution after the Baxter decision." (Emphasis added).

        Senator Anders Blewett, a lawyer, had made a similar statement:  "Under the current law [Baxter] ... there's nothing to protect the doctor from prosecution."

        To view a transcript of their statements, please go here: maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/blewett_speckhart_trans_001.pdf


        D.  Conclusion

         Assisted suicide is not legal in Montana.  A doctor who engages in this practice is subject to criminal and civil liability, and professional discipline.  Assisted suicide is not a medical treatment.

Bradley D. Williams
Coordinator
Montanans Against Assisted Suicide &
For Living with Dignity

www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org 610 North 1st St., Suite 5, PMB 285
Hamilton, MT 59840

bradley@montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org
(406) 531-0937 

To view Dr. Speckart's letter, go here:  http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/speckart-letter.pdf