As 2009 drew to a close, the Supreme Court in Montana ruled that nothing in the state’s law prevents patients from seeking medical assistance to die. The ruling means that Montana has become the third US state, alongside Oregon and Washington to allow terminally ill patients to ask doctors to actively help them to die.
This case had been heard in 2008 by the lower courts, which held conflicting views over whether doctors? assisting terminally ill patients to die was constitutional.
Doctors in Montana will now be able to prescribe the necessary drugs to terminally ill people who request assistance to die without fear of prosecution. This ruling does not extend to non-residents of Montana.
Dignity in Dying welcomes this positive step forward for choice at the end of life, and we are confident that a change in the law to allow assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in the UK is inevitable.