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Montana Judge Endorses Right to Assisted Suicide

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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 09:41 AM
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Montana Judge Endorses Right to Assisted Suicide
HELENA, Mont. (AP) A Montana judge has ruled that doctor-assisted suicide is legal in the state, but the decision is likely to be appealed.

The judge, Dorothy McCarter, issued the ruling late Friday in the case of a Billings man with terminal cancer who had sued the state.

In her ruling, Judge McCarter wrote that the Montana constitutional rights of individual privacy and human dignity give a mentally competent person who is terminally ill the right to die with dignity.

The ruling said that those patients had the right to obtain self-administered medications to hasten death if they found their suffering to be unbearable, and that physicians could prescribe such medication without fear of prosecution.

But the state has argued that the Legislature should decide whether terminally ill patients have the right to take their own life. The states attorney general, Mike McGrath, said he expected the state to file an appeal.

The plaintiff, Robert Baxter, 75, said in a statement that he was glad to know that the court respects my choice to die with dignity if my situation becomes intolerable.

The ruling makes Montana the third state after Oregon and Washington to allow doctor-assisted suicides.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/health/07montana.html...
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