End-of-Life Care Decision-Making Threatened In Case about Montana’s Ban on Transgender Care, Brief Warns

Group Urges Montana Supreme Court to Uphold Lower Court’s Suspension of Law
April 22, 2024

Compassion & Choices has filed an amicus brief in the Montana Supreme Court asserting a state law banning certain medical treatments for transgender minors could threaten the privacy rights to make medical decisions at every stage of life, including the end of life.

Callie Riley Headshot

Callie Riley, a trans woman who is northwest regional advocacy director for Compassion & Choices

A Montana district court blocked enforcement of the law in late September, just a few days before it would have taken effect on Oct. 1, 2023. The district court ruled in the case, van Garderen v. Montana, that state law SB99: “is unlikely to survive any level of constitutional review” and “barring access to gender-affirming care would negatively impact gender dysphoric minors’ mental and physical health.”

“Denying Montanans the ability to access medically appropriate care is an unconscionable intrusion into transgender Montanans’ private lives, and has far-reaching impacts on a wide range of healthcare decisions, including those at the end of life,” said Callie Riley, a trans woman who is northwest regional advocacy director for Compassion & Choices. “Montanans deserve the right to pursue medical treatments on their own terms.”

“Montana’s broad constitutional privacy protections are critical in ensuring individuals at the end of life can openly discuss their medical options with a

Jess Pezley, senior staff attorney, Compassion & Choices

Jess Pezley, a senior attorney for Compassion & Choices

trusted physician, make a fully-informed treatment decision, and have that treatment decision respected,” said Jess Pezley, a senior attorney for Compassion & Choices, which won a historic lawsuit in 2009, Baxter v. Montana, when the Montana Supreme Court ruled that there is no state law prohibiting medical aid in dying. “SB99 threatens to erode these critical protections. That’s why we believe the Montana Supreme Court should uphold the lower court’s ruling.”


Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to expand and improve healthcare options for the end of life, with 450,000 supporters nationwide. For more information, visit: CompassionAndChoices.org


English media contact: Sean Crowley, 202-495-8520-c, [email protected]

Latino media contact: Patricia A. González-Portillo, 323-819-0310-c, [email protected]

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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