Friday, February 13, 2015

SB 202 Tabled in Committee!

On February 11, 2012, SB 202, which would have legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia in Montana, was tabled in Committee.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Defeat SB 202!

The Montana Legislature is considering SB 202, which if passed, would legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Montana.

Under the bill, young adults with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, would be "eligible" for assisted suicide/euthanasia.  Such persons can live long healthy lives, for years, even decades. 

The bill, if passed, it will create the following problems:
  • It will encourage people with years to live to throw away their lives.  
  • It will create new paths of elder abuse, especially in the inheritance context.
  • It will empower health care systems to steer patients to suicide, which is well documented in Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. 
If the bill is passed, and Montana follows the "Oregon experience," other conventional suicides will increase, which will create serious public welfare/financial issues in Montana (in Oregon, conventional suicides are a $41 million problem due to hospitalization costs, etc).
    To view documentation regarding these problems, and other problems with legalization, please click here for the text; click here for the attachments

    Please also tell the Montana Legislature to vote "NO" on SB 202.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Senator Shockley: Position Changed with Evidence

    October 24, 2014 6:30 am

    I am a former legislator and a lawyer who at one time favored permitting physician-assisted suicide, but changed my position after looking at the evidence.

    William Clarke is wrong about the legality of assisted suicide, and his definition of suicide, as described in his letter of Oct. 15. Physician-assisted suicide is against the law in Montana and killing oneself is suicide regardless of your health.

    The present law is the Baxter case, which says that under certain circumstances a physician who assisted someone to kill herself/himself has a defense to a charge of homicide. It is a defense if the doctor is charged with homicide, that does not make it legal. If the doctor is charged with homicide and can convince a jury of certain facts, he or she will not be convicted. If the doctor fails to do so, he or she is convicted of a felony. Of course, there is the civil liability of the doctor, which is not addressed at all by Clarke.

    Legalizing physician-assisted suicide will lead to elder abuse and other problems. The American Medical Association is against physician-assisted suicide for the same reason I am. It will lead to abuse of the elderly and others who are infirm, mentally or physically, but not really “terminally ill.” As an example, the much-touted Oregon law allows ordinary diabetes to be considered a terminally ill disease

    Jim Shockley,


    Friday, October 24, 2014

    MAAS' Demand Letter to People Magazine: "The risk of suicide contagion is real. The potential victims include children."

    Dear Editor:

    People Magazine’s coverage of Brittany Maynard breaks all recommended media guidelines for responsible reporting of suicide.  The risk of suicide contagion is real.  The potential victims include children.    

    It is well known that media reporting of suicide can encourage other suicides, sometimes called "copycat suicides," or more generally, a "suicide contagion."  A famous example is Marilyn Monroe, whose suicide death led to a suicide spike.

    This encouragement phenomenon can also occur when the inspiring death is not a suicide.  An example is the televised hanging of Saddam Hussein, which led to suicide deaths of children worldwide.  An NBC News article begins:      
    The boys' deaths - scattered in the United States, in Yemen, in Turkey and elsewhere in seemingly isolated horror - had one thing in common:  They hanged themselves after watching televised images of Saddam Hussein's execution.

    Your coverage of Brittany Maynard is, of course, exponentially more intense and of broader range than that of Marilyn Monroe or Saddam Hussein.

    As a major media organization, you are expected to be familiar with recommended guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide.  Important points include that the risk of additional suicides increases "when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/graphic headlines or images, and repeated/extensive coverage."  See

    Your coverage of Brittany Maynard's upcoming death violates all of these guidelines.  We are told of the planned method, when and where it will take place and who will be there.  There is repeated extensive coverage in multiple media.  Your website says that the story has gone "viral."

    Meanwhile, People Magazine, in grocery stores everywhere, with children in line, glorifies Ms. Maynard's upcoming death.  Her photo is on the cover; she's beautiful and now she's one of your celebrities.  In big white letters, there is this headline:  "My Decision to Die."  There are also these words, also in white, simple enough for a child to understand:  "Why Brittany Maynard, 29, plans to end her life in less that three weeks."  

    According to your publication, Ms. Maynard is going to kill herself, and if you don't do something to change this suicide promotion trajectory, so will many other people.

    Now you can write me back, and say, "Oh, but Ms. Maynard's not suicidal, it's different."
    Saddam Hussein wasn't suicidal and it wasn't different. Those boys died.

    My client, Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, hereby demands the following:
    1.  That you immediately cease and desist your suicide promotion activity, which means removing all glorifying content from your website, grocery stores, wherever;
    2.  That you immediately add suicide prevention content to your publications, including  where to call for help; and
    3.  That you in no shape or form promote Ms. Maynard's suicide if and when it occurs.
    People Magazine celebrates the heroes among us.  It's time for People Magazine to show its integrity by this time being the hero among us to stop the contagion.


    Margaret Dore,
    Attorney for Montanans Against Assisted Suicide (MAAS)

    Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore, P.S.
    1001 4th Avenue, 44th Floor
    Seattle, WA  98154
    206 389 1754 main reception
    206 389 1562 direct line