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Posted on January 27, 2019 at 12:36 PM

This year, many states are considering legislation to affirmatively authorize medical aid in dying (MAID). Responding to super-majority public support, these states are seeking to join California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC.

But other states are taking an opposite approach. They are seeking to specifically prohibit MAID. For example, on Tuesday, January 29, the Montana Legislature will hold a hearing on H.B. 284

In 2009, the Montana Supreme Court (in the Baxter case) held that “we find no indication in Montana law that physician aid in dying provided to terminally ill, mentally competent adult patients is against public policy” and therefore, the physician who assists is shielded from criminal liability by the patient’s consent. 

H.B. 284 would legislatively overrule this holding, declaring that “physician aid in dying is against public policy, and a patient’s consent to physician aid in dying is not a defense to a charge of homicide against the aiding physician.”
Robert Baxter

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