By Margaret Dore
In 1972, Montana held its Constitutional Convention. The Bill of Rights Committee was charged with drafting a declaration of rights to be included in the constitution. On February 2, 1972, the Committee received "Delegate Proposal 103," which proposed a right to die.
On February 3, 1972, the Committee held a hearing on the "right to die." Therein, "Mrs. Joyce Franks presented the theory to the Committee that all persons should be able to choose his own death with dignity." She also submitted a seven page document titled "Bill of Rights Speech." In this document, she proposed wording for a constitutional right to die and also discussed her father and the right to die in terms of physician-assisted suicide and/or euthanasia.
Other persons also submitted testimony.
On February 9, 1972, the Bill of Rights Committee rejected Proposal #103, the "Right to Die."
On February 12, 1972, Joe Roberts appeared before the Committee in support of the right to die. His written remarks noted the reason for the Committee's rejection of the right to die, as follows:
"[T]he consensus of the delegates I have talked to indicated that while they were sympathetic to Mrs. Frank's personal tragedy, they were afraid of the implications of stating broadly a Right to Die in the Montana Constitution.
On March 18, 1972, the Committee's "Declaration of Rights" was adopted by the full convention without the right to die.
Today, the Committee's Declaration of Rights is Article II of the Montana Constitution.
With this history, there is no right to die in the Montana Constitution: it was proposed; advocated by Mrs. Franks and other persons; and rejected.
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 Delegate Proposal 103 proposed a right to be born and a right to die. A copy can be viewed at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-del-proposal-103-rtd.pdf
 See Committee Minutes for February 3, 1972 (listing the "Subject of Hearing" as "18 year old vote, proposal #13 [and] Right to Die"), available at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-rtd-test-feb-3-hearing-7_0011.pdf
 Minutes, page 2 (middle of the page), available at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-rtd-test-feb-3-hearing-7_0011.pdf
 Mrs. Franks' testimony form and seven page document are available at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/archived-mrs-franks-materials-02-03-721.pdf
 In Mrs. Franks' materials, she talks about both euthanasia in which the patient's death is directly caused by another person, and physician-assisted suicide in which the patient takes the lethal dose. For example, she states: "I asked the doctor which of my medicines, and how much, I could allow Dad to take with a reasonable certainty that it would kill him. The doctor wouldn't tell me." See her materials at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/archived-mrs-franks-materials-02-03-721.pdf
 Kenneth Henry and Stella Fila____ also submitted testimony. See this link: http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-documents-put-in-record-2-3-72.pdf
 See Committee Minutes for February 9, 1972, pp. 1 & 2 ("The following decisions were made: . . . #103- Out . . ."), available at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-rtd-103-rejected-2-9-72.pdf
 See Mr. Roberts' testimony form at this link: http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-joe-roberts-test-in-minutes-for-4-12-72.pdf
 The above quote is from the first paragraph of Mr. Roberts' written remarks, which can be viewed on the page after the testimony form at this link: http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-joe-roberts-test-in-minutes-for-4-12-72.pdf
 To see the text of the Declaration of Rights submitted to the full Convention, along with a preamble, go here: http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-bill-rts-final-3-18-72_001.pdf To see the Convention's roll vote, go here: http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/archived-conv-vote-3-18-72.pdf
 The entire Montana Constitution can be viewed here: http://courts.mt.gov/content/library/docs/72constit.pdf