MT 2011 Legislature

Jan 12, 2011 7:32 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)

MT lawmaker sponsors bill to address "aid in dying"

MT State Senator Anders Blewett (D-Great Falls) introduced a bill on Wednesday in the Montana Legislature which would allow terminally ill patients to choose aid in dying.

Blewett says the bill is in response to the Montana Supreme Court ruling in Baxter v. Montana.

The December 2009 ruling states that Montana law does not prevent patients from seeking physician-assisted suicide.

Oregon and Washington are the only other states that allow physician-assisted suicide.

Opponents of the bill say that terminally ill people can be easily manipulated into accepting a prescribed death, while bill advocates say that supporting physician-assisted suicide provides a way to die with dignity.

Blewett said, "We need to create a regulatory framework for this, create a standard of care, and most importantly make sure that doctors feel safe in performing these procedures."

MT State Representative Dick Barrett (D-Missoula) will carry similar legislation in the Montana House of Representatives.

Click here to read a draft version of the bill.