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Americans United for Life Represents 28 Bipartisan Montana Legislators Arguing Assisted Suicide Not a Right
Date:4/29/2009

CHICAGO, April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans United for Life (AUL) today filed a friend of the court brief before the Montana Supreme Court on behalf of a bipartisan group of 28 Montana Senators and Representatives, arguing there is no right to assisted suicide under the State's constitution.

In December 2008, a state district court ruled that, under the Montana Constitution, individuals have a right to suicide, and a right to assistance in committing suicide. In addition, the judge did not impose any restrictions on the practice, leaving room for the active euthanasia of patients by their physicians.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of AUL stated, "It is appalling that the district court has attempted to unilaterally manufacture a state constitutional right to assisted suicide--a right that has no basis in the history of our nation. On the contrary, Montana has compelling interests in protecting all human life and in preventing the abuses inherent in assisted suicide."

"The district court held that a person's constitutional rights are 'defeated' if she does not receive assistance in dying. This means that anyone--even a patient who cannot administer lethal drugs herself--is entitled to have a physician kill them," observed Mailee Smith, AUL Staff Counsel.

Smith continued, "What's even worse is that there is no requirement that another person witness the suicide request or that there be written documentation of the request and the basis for it. Physicians can unilaterally decide that their patients want to die, with no paper trail to hold them accountable. That is not assisted suicide--that is euthanasia."

AUL worked in conjunction with the Montana Attorney General's office to coordinate amicus briefs supporting the State's current prohibition of assisted suicide.

AUL's brief is available at http://tinyurl.com/Baxter-v-MT

About Americans United for Life

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971. The Wall Street Journal has profiled AUL, and PBS' Frontline program chronicled AUL's successful efforts in Mississippi.


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SOURCE Americans United for Life
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