Access to physician-assisted death is expanding across the U.S., but the procedure remains in Montana’s legal gray zone more than a decade after the state Supreme Court ruled physicians could use a dying patient’s consent as a defense.
Neil Mahoney had terminal cancer. He also had a legal right to aid-in-dying. But his faith-based hospital called it “morally unacceptable.” So he turned to a network of Colorado doctors to fulfill his last wish.
In Colorado case, the right to aid a cancer patient’s death runs up against faith-based hospital policies. As more states have passed laws, about 1 in 6 acute care beds nationally is in a hospital that is Catholic-owned or -affiliated.
Doctors at the University of California’s flagship San Francisco hospital are sharply divided over a proposal to join forces with a Catholic-run system that restricts care on the basis of religious doctrine — part of a broader public debate as Catholic hospitals expand their reach.