I’ve written about the hell that getting older is in Montana, and the pains our state will go through when in just a few years our population will have a helluva time taking care of itself. Most already does.
And I can’t begin to tell you how hard it is on 50-year-olds and 60-year-olds – many of them already struggling themselves – when they have to take care of mom and dad…or as I like to call it, help them die. Because really, isn’t that what we do in America (unless you shunt them off to a home), we help our parents die as easily as we can and with as much dignity as they can.
That’s awfully hard to do sometimes, especially when they’re reverting back to babies, both in their mental and physical faculties. But I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories of seniors getting shat, showered, and shaved…maybe you can even tell some yourself.
So it’s a problem, especially for those that have to spend years in such a condition. And that’s why we have doctor assisted suicide in Montana.
History of Assisted Suicide in Montana
Oregon and Washington were already doing the same thing, which means doctors can give “intentionally lethal drug overdoses for the purpose of assisted suicide,” according to the Patients Rights Council. And why are they doing this? Because so many in America think it’s the humane thing to do, according to the Public Agenda Archives.
So in 2009 the Montana Supreme Court sided with the ideals of those organizations and did what Montana has always done – helped lead the way for the nation with our social policies. Then-Representative Dick Barrett (D-Missoula) tried to get legislation going to put that language into actual law, but since Republicans have held the Montana Legislature since the 1990s, that didn’t happen.
The Montana GOP did try block doctor-assisted suicide in Montana during the 2011 legislative session, with Senator Greg Hinkle of Thompson Falls leading the charge. His SB116 went nowhere, as did SB167 introduced by Anders Blewett (D-Great Falls) to set up some kind of regulatory framework for this new practice, which is the necessary first step to making it the long-term law of the land.
Representative Krayton Kerns (R-Red Lodge) managed to get his HB505 to end the practice passed in the House, though it failed 27-23 in the Senate in the closing days of the session, April 15, probably in large part to Barrett railing against it.
Assisted Suicide and the 2015 Montana Legislature
This is a touchy issue, and 46 states have laws banning assisted suicide. Montana is the only state allowing it because of the court, something that didn’t get a lot of news play this past election cycle, but which probably rubbed quite a few GOPers the wrong way. Could some donations to VanDyke come because of that? You bet your ass they could’ve!
I’m writing about this today because of an email I got from Montanans Against Assisted Suicide…although I have no idea why.
Here’s a letter he wrote to the Missoulian in September of 2014…perhaps more information that can be used against him later.
I won’t apologize - in Montana we value our senior citizens, and that’s why we allow them to die with dignity.