Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Montana: "Assisted Suicide: Proposal a recipe for elder abuse"


Assisted suicide: Proposal a recipe for elder abuse
Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 8:30 am

Thank you for Sally Mauk’s article about Dr. Ira Byock and “dying well” (“Doctor says advances prolong life, make dying harder,” March 16). I write to comment on the reference to “whether physician-assisted suicide should be legalized.”

In Montana, proposals to legalize assisted suicide are not necessarily about people who are dying. For example, during the Baxter litigation, the plaintiffs proposed a definition of “terminally ill adult patient” that would have rendered young adults with treatable conditions such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS “eligible” for assisted suicide. See the opinion letter by Attorney Theresa Schrempp and Dr. Richard Wonderly at
www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca/ ConnMemo02.pdf.

Similarly, during our last legislative session, the failed bill, SB 167, defined eligibility for assisted suicide in terms of a doctor’s prediction of six months to live. Such predictions can be wrong. See for example, Nina Shapiro, “Terminal Uncertainty – Washington’s new ‘Death with Dignity’ law allows doctors to help people commit suicide – once they’ve determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they’re wrong?” at
www.seattleweekly.com/ 2009-01-14/news/terminal-uncertainty.

Legalizing assisted suicide would, regardless, be a recipe for elder abuse. It would create multiple other problems. I invite all of your readers to look at our website,

If anyone would like to help keep assisted suicide out of Montana, please contact me to volunteer. Donations are also appreciated. Thank you!
Bradley D. Williams, Coordinator, Montanans Against Assisted Suicide and For Living with Dignity, Hamilton