This is my response to Barbara Coombs Lee’s rebuttal of my guest column, “Assisted Suicide is not legal, not the answer.”
Coombs Lee is the president of Compassion and Choices and a former “managed care executive.” See maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/
My guest column described how she and her organization tout themselves as promoters of individual choice when their actual mission is to reduce patient access to cures and to promote patient suicide as an alternative “treatment.” As proof, I used her own words from an opinion piece she had written in Oregon’s largest paper.
Therein, Coombs Lee had defended Oregon’s Medicaid program, which had declined to cover a cancer treatment for a patient named Barbara Wagner, and in lieu thereof, offered to cover Wagner’s “aid in dying” suicide. Coombs Lee also argued against Wagner’s choice to be treated and argued for a public policy change to discourage people from seeking cures generally. See maasdocuments.files.
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Coombs Lee’s rebuttal to my guest column does not deny that she defended Medicaid or that she argued for a public policy to discourage cures. Rather, she continues and reiterates these themes. Her rebuttal also claims that “aid in dying” is legal under Montana’s Baxter decision, which is not true. Indeed, this point was conceded by a member of her own organization during the 2011 legislative session. Dr. Stephen Speckart, who was also a plaintiff in Baxter, testified on the record:
“[M]ost physicians feel significant dis-ease with the limited safeguards and possible risk of criminal prosecution after the Baxter decision.”
Sen. Anders Blewett, D-Great Falls, a lawyer, offered a similar opinion, that “there’s nothing to protect the doctor from prosecution.”
Assisted suicide is not legal and not the answer for Montana. Don’t be fooled.
Bradley D. Williams, president,
Montanans Against Assisted Suicide,