Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Oregon Health Plan Steers Patients to Suicide

Yesterday, the Canadian Department of Justice filed evidence in Leblanc v. Canada, including the affidavit of Oregon doctor Ken Stevens.  Therein, Dr. Stevens talks about his patient, Jeanette Hall.  He also describes how with legal assisted suicide, the Oregon Health Plan steers patients to suicide.  His affidavit concludes:

"The Oregon Health Plan is a government health plan administered by the State of Oregon. If assisted suicide is legalized in Canada, your government health plan could follow a similar pattern. If so, the plan will pay for a patient to die, but not to live."

Please find the full text of his affidavit below.  To view a hard copy of his affidavit with supporting documentation, click here 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Elder Abuse is not a Trend that Anyone Should Follow

Bradley Williams to the New England Journal of Medicine:

Your article, "Redefining Physicians’ Role in Assisted Dying," is based on two false premises, that legalizing physician-assisted suicide is a trend, and that the only thing stopping this trend is opposition by the medical establishment and physicians. Hence, the article proposes removing physicians from the process by putting a government bureaucracy in charge of assisted suicides. Talk about 1984 and Big Brother watching you.

The article omits that Idaho, Louisiana and Georgia recently strengthened their laws against assisted-suicide.[1] The article also omits that the Attorney General of Hawaii recently issued a opinion against assisted-suicide.[2] The article wrongly implies that a court case in my state, Montana, legalized assisted-suicide. That case merely gives doctors a potential defense to a homicide charge.[3][4]

There are just two states where assisted suicide is legal, Oregon and Washington. In these states, legalization has created new paths of elder abuse.[5] This is not a "trend" that anyone should follow.

To learn more about problems with legal assisted-suicide, see: www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org

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

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

bradley@montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org

* * *
[1] Margaret Dore, "US Overview," "‘Choice’ is an Illusion," July 30, 2012, available at http://www.choiceillusion.org/p/us-overview.html (regarding Idaho, Louisiana and Georgia and linking to source documentation)
[2] Id. (regarding Hawaii)
[3] Greg Jackson & Matt Bowman, "Analysis of Implications of the Baxter Case on Potential Criminal Liability," Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity, April 2010, available at http://montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Analysis-of-Baxter.pdf
[4] Senator Jim Shockley and Margaret Dore, "No, physician-assisted suicide is not legal in Montana: It's a recipe for elder abuse and more," The Montana Lawyer, November 2011 (1 of 2 pro-con articles featured in the issue’s cover story) , available at http://www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org/p/montana-lawyer-article.html
[5] Id.

Montana State Senator Corrects New England Journal of Medicine

Assisted Suicide is Not Legal in Montana
Dear Editor:

I am a Montana State Senator.  I disagree with your article, "Redefining Physicians' Role in Assisted Dying," claiming that assisted suicide is legal in Montana.  At the very least, Montana law is unclear.

Last year, Senate Bill 167, which would have legalized assisted suicide in Montana, failed.  This leaves assisted suicide governed by a Montana Supreme Court case, Baxter v. Montana.  An analysis by attorneys Greg Jackson and Matt Bowman describes Baxter as follows:


"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."[1]

Since then, competing articles have appeared in the official Montana State Bar publication disputing whether Baxter legalized assisted suicide.[2]  The editor's headline states: "Court ruling still leaves the issue open to argument." [3]

Correct reporting would be that assisted suicide is not legal in Montana and/or hotly disputed.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Senator Greg Hinkle
Thompson Falls, MT 


* * *

[1] Greg Jackson, Esq., and Matt Bowman, Esq., "Analysis of Implications of the Baxter Case on Potential Criminal Liability," Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity, April 2010, available at
http://montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Analysis-of-Baxter.pdf                                                
[2] Senator Anders Blewett (pro article), Senator Jim Shockley and Margaret Dore (con article), "The aid-in-dying debate: Can a physician legally help a patient die in Montana?  Court ruling still leaves the issue open to argument," The Montana Lawyer, November 2011, available at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/montana-lawyer-pro-con-articles-nov-2011.pdf[3]  Id.