Thursday, May 16, 2013

Individuals and Groups Who Worked with MAAS in the 2013 Legislative Session

The following is a sampling of individuals and groups who worked with Montanans Against Assisted Suicide during the 2013 legislative session:

1.  112 Montana doctors who joined together to support HB 505.  See this link for their press release:

2.  The national disability rights group, Not Dead Yet, with members in Montana, endorsed HB 505.  See

3.  Carol Mungas, the widow of a prominent physician who was euthanized by nurses against his will in Great Falls, endorsed HB 505.  See

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Assisted suicide is still not legal

May 2, 2013

I disagree that the defeat of House Bill 505 somehow renders assisted suicide legal under the Montana Supreme Court case, Baxter v. State. (“Montana Senate rejects doctor-assisted suicide bill”).

In the 2011 legislative session, Sen. Anders Blewett and I introduced competing bills in response to Baxter, which did not legalize assisted suicide. Baxter does, however, have toe-in-the-door type language, which invites legalization in the future. Neither bill passed. His bill had sought to legalize assisted suicide; mine had sought to reverse Baxter.

During the hearing on Blewett’s bill, he conceded that assisted suicide was not legal under Baxter. He said: “under the current law ... there’s nothing to protect the doctor from prosecution.” Dr. Stephen Speckart provided similar testimony: “most physicians feel significant dis-ease with the limited safeguards and possible risk of criminal prosecution after the Baxter decision.” (To view a transcript, see .)
This session, there was a similar situation. SB220, which had sought to legalize assisted suicide, was defeated. HB505, which would have reversed Baxter, was also defeated.

In other words, Baxter, which did not legalize assisted suicide, remains the law. Assisted suicide is not legal in Montana. For more information, see .

Greg Hinkle,
Senator (ret.)
Thompson Falls

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"If [Kress] is convicted, it will be under Baxter, not HB505."

Physician-assisted suicide:  Bill will not be retroactive

Dr. Eric Kress, who claims to have assisted three suicides, is either uniformed or disingenuous about the legality of assisted suicide as described in his guest column (April 7). The present law, as taken from the Baxter case, is that under certain circumstances a physician who assisted someone to kill himself has a defense to a charge of homicide. If the doctor is charged with homicide and convinces a jury of certain facts, he will not be convicted.
Kress claims instead that his conduct will be judged under House Bill 505, which if enacted, will clarify the law of assisted suicide in the future. HB505 is not retroactive and will not apply to Kress and his three cases. If he is convicted, it will be under Baxter, not HB505.
I started out thinking that I was for legalizing physician-assisted suicide and moved to the other side after listening to the evidence. Legalizing physician-assisted suicide will lead to elder abuse. I support HB505, which clearly prohibits physician-assisted suicide.
Jim Shockley, Attorney at Law, 
Victor MT