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December 8, 2008

Montana Okays Doctor-Assisted Suicides

A state judge has ruled that doctor-assisted suicides are legal in Montana, the Associated Press reports.

"The patient's right to die with dignity includes protection of the patient's physician from liability under the state's homicide statutes," Judge Dorothy McCarter wrote in the ruling late Friday.

The state attorney general's office had argued that intentionally taking a life was illegal, and that the issue was the responsibility of the state Legislature.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Anders had argued the state has no evaluation process, safeguards or regulations to provide guidance or oversight for doctor-assisted suicide. The state also said it was premature to declare constitutional rights for a competent, terminally ill patient because the terms "competent" or "terminally ill" had yet to be defined.

Amy Beth Hanson writes, "McCarter's ruling makes Montana the third state after Oregon and Washington to allow doctor-assisted suicides. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that terminally ill patients have no constitutional right to doctor-assisted suicide but did nothing to prevent states from legalizing the process."


As a fourth generation Montanan, this ruling deeply saddens me. It neither reflects the conservative values of my state; nor does it reflect our political values. In a state where the state legislature meets once every two years in a 90 day session, laws are passed slowly and often after multiple sessions. It saddens me that a judge is assuming the rights of a legislator without the typical checks and balances our legislative process brings. This judge cannot say that our legislative process is outdated. Our state constitution is considered one of most progressive in the nation. Sadly, one judge is ignoring our political values of our constitution. Further, the people of Montana have strong ballot initiative privileges. When the legislature is unwilling or unable, we the people can create laws reflecting our values. The personal opinion of one judge has overruled our legislative and ballot initiative process. Thankfully, our district judges are elected officials and we can vote them out. However, the damage has been done.

The ugly head of judicial activism raised its head again. Judge Dorothy McCarter has decided that Montanan’s have the right to doctor-assisted suicide. She justified her ruling by comparing the taking of a human life with euthanizing an animal. Where does such thinking come from? Evolution. Our children are taught and adults are told that man isn’t created in the image of God, but in the image of Goo. Such a worldview lends credence to McCarter’s logic. One might even say it’s immoral for a human to own an animal – if evolution is true.

Belief in evolution also justifies embryonic stem cell research and abortion. One has every right to destroy human embryos if doing so benefits those deemed more deserving of life. One has every right to kill the unborn if the baby is the wrong sex or cramps their lifestyle or causes economic hardship – if evolution is true.

We have witnessed how quickly some will abandon their moral values if their standard of living is threatened. Currently, assisted suicide is restricted to the “competent, terminally ill”. But as the population ages and entitlements rob others of their wealth and lower their standard of living, assisted suicide will be foisted upon the elderly, the handicapped, and others considered a drain upon society – if evolution is true.

It will quickly become apparent that the step from assisted suicide to insisted suicide is a small one if one believes man is created in the image of Goo.