Thursday, December 31, 2009

Montana Supreme Court Approves Aid in Dying.

From the AP and Spokesman-Review:

HELENA, Montana — The Montana Supreme Court says nothing in state law prevents patients from seeking physician-assisted suicide, paving the way for the procedure.

Other Western states already allow doctor-assisted suicide.

Oregon and Washington state allow assisted suicides for terminally ill patients. Oregon adopted the nation’s first “death with dignity” law in 1997.

In Montana a year ago, a state District Court judge ruled that the state’s constitutional rights to privacy and dignity protect the right of terminally ill Montanans to get the drugs needed to die peacefully.

But advocates have said a decision from the state Supreme Court was needed before physician-assisted suicide would be embraced by the medical community.

The Supreme Court decided not to determine whether the Montana Constitution guarantees the right. Instead, it said nothing in state law or the court’s precedent indicated it was against public policy.

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