Fred Brewer's Dec. 16 letter refers to "exaggerated claims of abuse" on people approaching the end of their lives. It is, however, well-established that older people do suffer abuse and that such abuse is widespread.
Brewer also implies that assisted suicide is legal under the Montana Supreme Court case, Baxter v. State. This is untrue. Attorneys Greg Jackson and Matt Bowman did an extensive analysis, concluding the following: "After Baxter, assisted suicide continues to carry both criminal and civil liability risks for any doctor, institution, or lay person involved."
As for assisted suicide in Oregon, its law, by accident or design, has significant gaps that allow patient abuse to occur. Moreover, any studies claiming that the law is safe are invalid. In the 2011 legislative session, Sen. Jeff Essmann summarized the situation as follows: "[A]II the protections [in Oregon's law] end after the prescription is written. [The proponents] admitted that the provisions in the Oregon law would permit one person to be alone in that room with the patient. And in that situation, there is no guarantee that that medication is self-administered.
“So frankly, any of the studies that come out of the state of Oregon's experience are invalid because no one who administers that drug ... to that patient is going to be turning themselves in for the commission of a homicide."
For more information about problems with legalizing assisted suicide, please go to www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org
Bradley Williams, president
Montanans Against Assisted Suicide