Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Assisted Suicide: Legalization Could Lead to Abuse

November 28, 2012
I am the coordinator of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, a grassroots group and a Montana nonprofit public benefit corporation. Thank you for your article highlighting assisted suicide and our ongoing dispute with the Montana Board of Medical Examiners (Associated Press, Nov. 16). The article does, however, have significant factual errors.

First, and contrary to the article, assisted suicide is not legal in Montana. The Montana Supreme Court case, Baxter v. Montana, merely gives assisting doctors a potential defense to prosecution for homicide. The case offers no protection to non-doctors. It gives no protection to anyone from being sued by angry family members who suddenly find their loved one dead due to an assisted suicide.

Second, the article missed the nature of our dispute with the board. Our complaint is that the board acted outside its authority when it issued its position statement on assisted suicide. The board also repeatedly denied interested parties the right to be heard.

In board proceedings, we were supported by Montanans including doctors, elected officials and a law professor. We submitted 3,000 signatures opposed to assisted suicide (with some duplicates).

Legalizing assisted suicide would be a recipe for elder abuse. There would be other problems. To learn more, see

Bradley Williams, president, Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, Hamilton