Since 2009, it has been legal for physicians in Montana to prescribe medication to help patients end their lives without fear of prosecution, but in February, the Montana house passed a bill to criminalize that action. Advocates for physician-assisted suicide rallied behind Dr. Eric Kress, a physician in Missoula who has aided three patients in ending their lives with dignity. Fortunately, the bill was defeated in the Montana senate last week.
Today on America Weekend, I invited Dr. Kress to explain why he does what he does — although it’s a very small part of his practice (he’s no Dr. Kevorkian) — and how the legalization in Montana has not caused a “rush to die” as some critics predicted (they were wrong about it in Oregon and Washington, too). We also discussed how life-and-death decisions like this are made every day by families and doctors in hospitals all over the country, and he revealed the story of the patient who helped him make up his mind to aid others who wanted to die.