Assisted suicide became the law of the land in both Washington and Oregon by a ballot measure. It has yet to become law through the scrutiny of a legislature despite more than 100 attempts.
Montana is attempting to pass a bill allowing assisted suicide through legislative measures using Oregon’s model as the footprint. Physician-assisted suicide means that a physician is involved in providing the means and/or information for another person to commit suicide. In Oregon there is no oversight required when a lethal dose is administered.
The Oregon laws make this available to patients expected to die within six months, but doctors can be wrong and patients don’t always die. Treatment can lead to recovery; depression can be treated; feelings of significance and importance can return. Assisted suicide swings the door wide for elder abuse and self-serving benefactors and is inconsistent with the compassionate and trusting care a patient deserves from his physician.
In Oregon, patients desiring treatment have been denied, but offered suicide instead. Encouraging suicide in one form, promotes it in other forms. Montana already has one of the highest suicide rates. In Washington where this has been legal since 2009, there is already a discussion to expand its law to allow euthanasia for non-terminal people. We must not take the Washington or Oregon path.
Dr. David W. Hafer, Montana state representative, Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Dayton