Monday, April 8, 2013

Don't Give Doctors More Power to Abuse Patient Choice: Vote "Yes" on HB 505

Prepared by Margaret Dore, Esq.
For a print version, click here

1.  Letter from Kate Kelly to the Senate Judiciary Committee, A Response to David “Doc” Moore, March 24, 2013 (“If these terrible deaths happen when aid in dying (assisted suicide and euthanasia) is not legal, what will happen if these practices are made legal? Doctors will have even more power to take away patient choice”).  Letter available at

2.  Letter from Mike Moe to the Senate Judiciary Committee, March 23, 2013 (“Please vote for  HB 505 to prevent doctors and nurses from having more power to cause patient deaths. They abuse the power they already have. Please consider my mother’s story . . .”).  Letter available at

3.  Letter from Carol Mungas to the Great Falls Tribune, March 14, 2013 (“As illustrated by my husband’s case, doctors and nurses already abuse the power they have.  The stakes are too high to consider expanding their power by legalizing assisted-suicide”).  Letter available at

4.  Letter from Gail Bell to the Ravalli Republic, March 5, 2013 (“Because of my mother’s experiences, I no longer believe in “physician-assisted suicide.  Support House Bill 505").  Letter available at

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Once in place, this 'trend' is not controllable"

Dear Senators:

For those of you who don't know me, I am an attorney in Washington state where physician-assisted suicide is legal. I am writing to urge you to not make Washington's mistake by allowing assisted suicide/euthanasia to become part of your state's legal fabric.  Once in place, this "trend" is not controllable.  I urge you to vote "Yes" on HB 505 to clearly state that assisted suicide is not legal in Montana.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Support for HB 505

The following is a sampling of individuals and groups who support HB 505.

1.  112 Montana doctors have joined together to support HB 505.  See this link for their press release:
2.  Montanans Against Assisted Suicide has submitted 4000 plus signatures against assisted suicide into the Senate Judiciary Committee.

3.  The national disability rights group, Not Dead Yet, with members in Montana, has endorsed HB 505.  See
4.  Carol Mungas, the widow of a prominent physician who was euthanized by nurses against his will in Great Falls, has endorsed HB 505.  See 
5.  Montanans, Mike Moe and Gail Bell, with similar experiences, have endorsed HB 505.  See and
6.  The Daily Inter Lake endorsed HB 505.  See

Monday, April 1, 2013

Why HB 505 is Needed Now

By Margaret Dore

Last week, a Montana doctor admitted assisting three suicides during a hearing on HB 505.[1]  He claimed that his actions were legal based on the Baxter case.  Baxter did not, however, legalize assisted suicide, which has been conceded by other suicide proponents.[2], [3]  Baxter is, however, subject to ongoing controversy.    

Any counter move to protect the public, such as prosecution of the doctor, will be complicated by the controversy surrounding Baxter.  Moreover, as with any litigation, the outcome is not certain.  For this reason, the doctor's prevailing is a possibility.  If he does prevail, another possibility is that legalization of assisted suicide will occur by judicial fiat.  Whether this actually occurs will depend on the facts, the judge and other circumstances.

On the other hand, if HB 505 is enacted, there will be a clear statement going forward that assisted suicide is not legal.  The negative consequences of legalization, such as elder abuse, will be avoided.

This is why HB 505 is needed now.  To stop the confusion and protect the public.  The stakes are too high to leave the outcome to chance.

Tell your legislators to vote "Yes" on HB 505!
[1] Briana Wipf, "Emotions flow over assisted suicide during Senate hearing," Great Falls Tribune,  March 30, 2013, available at
[2] See Greg Jackson and Matt Bowman, “Analysis of Implications of the Baxter Case on Potential Criminal Liability,” Spring 2010, at
[3]  During a Senate hearing in 2011, assisted suicide proponent, Senator Anders Blewett, said:  “[U]nder current law, ... there’s nothing to protect the doctor from prosecution.”  ( ).  Dr. Stephen Speckart, another proponent, made a similar statement: "[M]ost physicians feel significant dis-ease with the limited safeguards and possible risk of criminal prosecution after the Baxter decision."  (Id. at p.2)