Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Missoula hysterectomy case pits religious beliefs versus doctor, psychiatrist

March 6, 2011

One day after a Missoula County District Court judge ordered a hysterectomy for a woman with cancer, the Montana Supreme Court stepped in and halted the surgery to allow an appeal.

Last Tuesday, Judge Karen Townsend found that the woman known as L.K. was not mentally competent and ordered that the surgery should be performed on Thursday.

The next day, a public defender filed an emergency petition on L.K.'s behalf.

"Tomorrow's impending involuntary removal of L.K.'s reproductive organs both establishes that the district court is proceeding under a mistake of law and is causing a gross injustice and involves constitutional dignity and religious freedom issues of statewide importance," the public defender's office wrote on L.K.'s behalf.

The Supreme Court issued an order the same day providing for an expedited appeal within 30 days.


See the story of AP (WP), the analysis of Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy and the analysis at WSJ.