Greed, personal motives can influence 'choice' to assist suicide

By Dr Annie Bukacek

I disagree with Barbara Coombs Lee, who implies that assisted suicide is legal in Montana (“Rebutting claims,” Sept. 16).

I am an internal medicine physician with over 20 years’ experience. In both 2011 and 2013, proposed bills to legalize assisted suicide failed to get through our legislature. In both years, these bills had sought to legalize assisted suicide for people with a prognosis of less than six months to live. A prognosis (prediction) does not mean dying. I have seen many cases where specialists have been wrong in predicting life span, sometimes by decades.

A Roundup man was recently charged with “aiding or soliciting suicide” of a 16-year-old girl here in Montana. His apparent motive was to prevent her testimony against him in another matter, i.e., by getting her to kill herself. According to an Associate Press article, he coerced her to actually take steps towards that goal, which fortunately did not result in her death.

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