HELENA – A state District Court judge has denied a request from the attorney general’s office to stay an order that affirmed a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.
District Judge Dorothy McCarter ruled Wednesday that such a stay would “deny the fundamental right of Montanans to die with dignity,” pending what could be a lengthy appeal.
McCarter also says she denied the stay because she believes the state Supreme Court will affirm her decision.
McCarter ruled on Dec. 5 that mentally sound, terminally ill Montanans have a constitutional right to choose to end their lives using medication prescribed by doctors.
The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a Billings man, Robert Baxter, who was later joined by four Montana doctors and the national nonprofit rights group Compassion & Choices. Baxter died before learning of McCarter’s initial ruling.
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