Robert Baxter was by all accounts a tough man. Even in the end, last year, as lymphocytic leukemia was killing him, Mr. Baxter, a 76-year-old retired truck driver from Billings, Mont., fought on. But by then he was struggling not for life, but for the right to die with help from his doctor.
“He yearned for death,” his daughter, Roberta King, said in a court affidavit describing her father’s final agonized months.
Now, in death, Mr. Baxter is at the center of a right-to-die debate that could make Montana the first state in the country to declare that medical aid in dying is a protected right under a state constitution.
The state’s highest court on Wednesday will take up Mr. Baxter’s claim that a doctor’s refusal to help him die violated his rights under Montana’s Constitution — and lawyers on both sides say the chances are good that he will prevail.
Continua (New York Times, August 31, 2009)