Montana death: Murder or Assisted suicide

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Independent Record in Helena Montana reported today on a case of a woman who killed a man, by strangulation, because he had asked to die.

The woman accused of killing a man in Billings on Tuesday night says she strangled the man because he told her he wanted to die and she had wanted to try killing someone with her "bare hands."

Penelope Strong, Haugen's defense attorney was reported to state:

"We're likely looking at an assisted suicide defense for Ms. Haugen,"

The Independent Record reported:

(Lindsay) Haugen ... and (Robert) Mast had been dating since August, and they were traveling from Olympia, Washington, to North Dakota, but had stopped at a Billings Wal-Mart to eat some pizza and drink some wine. 
The pair were sitting in the parking lot in Haugen's car when Mast told her he wanted to die. 
Haugen said if he was serious, she could make it happen. Mast told Haugen he was serious. 
Haugen climbed into the back of the car and put her arm around Mast's neck as he sat in the passenger seat. She described in detail the process of Mast's death to officers and said at one point he began to foam at the mouth. According to charging documents, she said she held his mouth and nose shut for at least 20 minutes.

If the content in this article is causing you to have suicidal thoughts contact Your Life Counts.

I am interested in this story because Mast's lawyer says that she will use assisted suicide as a defense for murder. Assisted suicide is not legal in Montana, but the Montana Supreme Court, in its Baxter decision, gave physicians a defense of consent. When assisted suicide is legalized, defense lawyer's can defend a murder charge by arguing it was an assisted suicide.

I will continue to follow this case.

Pushing the Courts to Impose Assisted Suicide

This article was published by Wesley Smith on his blog on August 12, 2015.

By Wesley Smith

The suicide pushers want to win by any means possible. 

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Hence, Kathryn Tucker, the lawyer who brought the Glucksberg case, wants judges to impose assisted suicide legalization on us all. From, the California Lawyer story on the so far unsuccessful fight here to pass an Oregon-style assisted suicide law: 

Director Tucker of the Disability Rights Legal Center called SB 128 an “outdated approach, seeking to replicate a measure adopted 21 years ago in Oregon.” In her view, litigation would be more effective than legislation. For example, if the plaintiffs prevail in Brody, Tucker says, “the same open practice of aid in dying will emerge in California … [without] burdensome requirements for collecting and reporting data.” 

Ah, the cat is out of the bag! These were the very “guidelines” that Tucker once said was so important to protect against abuses. 

DO YOU NOT SEE NOW that the suicide fanatics are running a con about “guidelines?” They are merely an expedient to be ignored or discarded as soon as society swallows their hemlock. 

Hopefully, that might not be so easy. 

Way back in 1997, in Glucksberg v. Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court found–9-0!–that there is not a constitutional right to assisted suicide. 

Florida State Supreme Court agreed with regard to state law. So did Alaska’s. Connecticut trial court agreed. Ditto a recent California trial court, among others. 

Heck, even Montana’s Supreme Court, which issued one of the most muddled confusing decisions I have ever read, did not find a constitutional right to assisted suicide.

Link to the full article

Subversive Strategies to Sell Assisted Suicide

By Dr Jacqueline Harvey

Dr Jacqueline Harvey

Dr Jacqueline Harvey

The numbers don’t lie. In spite of masterful public relations campaigns to suggest otherwise, the assisted suicide movement has an abysmal record trying to legalize assisted self-destruction over the last 21 years. The suicide lobby has few victories to claim. Rather, they consistently fail at each of the strategies they employ to push their agenda. Lawmakers fail to pass assisted suicide bills 99% of the time, after lawmakers are educated of the dangers at public hearings. Ballot initiatives fail in nearly three-quarters of cases to win enough votes, even after propaganda campaigns with no public hearings. Even attempts to subvert lawmakers and voters altogether by courting judges to legislate from the bench have yielded few returns. 

Bolstered by deep pockets and a sympathetic media, we are led to believe that the assisted suicide movement is winning, when the track record shows overwhelming political failure spanning three decades. 

Nowhere is it more clear how lethal education and scientific evidence are to the suicide lobby than by examining how many assisted suicide bills withstand the scrutiny of witness testimony. Since 1994,175 bills have been introduced in 35 states and the District of Columbia and thus far, only one has prevailed. Vermont is the anomaly, the lone bill, passed in 2013 after 19 years of failed attempts to convince legislators, a success rate of .057%. Assisted suicide is an established loser with lawmakers, failing more than 99% of the time in statehouses in over 20 years. Death making does not fare well when subjected to public debate. Thus far in 2015, 25 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation and most bills met their demise, by either lacking support to advance, devastated by testimony and withdrawn to address concerns or simply to spare a humiliating death. A few a late-filed bills still linger after failing to launch, but are unlikely to persevere through the process or manifest as an amendment to still-viable legislation. 

A team of assisted suicide lobbyists are attempting to resurrect California’s Senate Bill SB128 through a procedural ploy that subverts the committee that rejected it and placing it on the floor for a vote, in an affront to the legislative process but in keeping with the suicide lobby’s inability to legitimately pass bills and blatant overall lack of regard for law-making and public will. They routinely circumvent lawmakers to exploit voters, and even disregard both lawmakers and voters to forcibly impose their will through the courts due to an inability to pass assisted suicide through legitimate means. Only one bill has yet prevailed at all through the legislature. A record of 1 in 175 is evidence that assisted suicide is too illegitimate an act to obtain legitimate support. 

Attempts to comfort lawmakers ill-at-ease after hearing testimony about the abuses and dangers of assisted suicide are not persuasive. Rather than address the evidence from testimony which gives lawmakers reservations, the suicide lobby have decided to create lawmakers out of the uniformed voter through ballot initiatives that do not require public hearings. Assisted suicide advocates have frequently appealed to the voters who are not informed by testimony and could be swayed by emotion and deceived by sanitized language designed to manipulate their vote.

Link to the full article

"Big Business" and Assisted Suicide

This article was published on the Californians Against Assisted Suicide website.

By Margaret Dore Esq., MBA*

Margaret Dore

Margaret Dore

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was recently quoted as concerned that big business would use California's assisted suicide proposal, SB 128, to "guide people in that direction," meaning early death via a lethal overdose.

This is a valid concern.

I am an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to SB 128, which seeks to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in California.

In Oregon, it is well documented that Oregon's Medicaid program uses coverage incentives to steer people to suicide. See: Affidavit of Oregon doctor, Ken Stevens, pp 3-4. With legal assisted suicide, private health plans have this same ability. Dr. Stevens states:

If assisted suicide is legalized in [your state], your government health plan could follow a similar pattern. Private health plans could also follow this pattern. If so, these plans would pay for you and/or your family to die, but not to live. (Emphasis added). Id, ¶16.

Dr. Stevens also notes that the mere presence of legal assisted suicide steers people to suicide, which was the case with his patient Jeanette Hall. Her cancer treatment was fully covered, but with the existence of Oregon's law, she nonetheless became adamant that she would kill herself. Dr. Stevens convinced her to be treated instead. (Affidavit, ¶¶ 5-9). She is alive today, fifteen years later.

Link to the full article

Montana House passes bill to stop assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Montana House

Montana House

Montana came one step closer to closing the door on assisted suicide. Yesterday, the Montana House passed House Bill 477, a bill that includes physician-assisted suicide within the current state law that prohibits "aiding or soliciting suicide."

For the past few years Montana has faced a confusing situation with respect to assisted suicide. In 2009, the Baxter court decision declared that Montana citizens had a right to assisted suicide. This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court in Montana that decided that Montana citizens do not have a right to assisted suicide. The Court did not overturn the statute protecting Montana citizens from assisted suicide, but the Court did grant a tightly worded defense of consent, if a physician was prosecuted for assisted suicide.

Therefore physician-assisted suicide remains illegal in Montana, if prosecuted, a physician could use a defense of consent.

According to the Revalli Republic news Rep. Jerry Bennett, the sponsor of the bill, stated that the bill faces a final vote today before it can advance to the Montana Senate. Bennett stated:

Montana already has a high suicide rate, and that in Oregon, which allows assisted suicide, the suicide rate is much higher than the national average.

Senate Bill 202, a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide in Montana was defeated last month at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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.

Link to the full article

Convicted Montana rapist charged with aiding or soliciting suicide

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Montana Billings Gazette reported on September 18 that a convicted rapist from Roundup Montana was charged with aiding or soliciting suicide. This is an important story since the assisted suicide lobby claims that assisted suicide is legal in Montana.

This is a very disturbing story.


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