Thursday, February 26, 2009

Assisted suicide, Right to Die

We say that a transaction that some people want to engage in is "repugnant" if other people don't want them to, and assisted suicide fits the bill; it remains a crime in most states. But the demand for dignified death by the terminally ill means that the issue raises its head time and again. The NY Times reports: 4 Charged in Multi-State Suicide Assistance Probe .

The organization in question in this case is the Final Exit Network, and the particular charge is that they offered advice and moral support to a terminally ill Georgia man.
"The Georgia man's mother, Betty Celmer, contended that the group shouldn't face charges if they helped her son.
''If they helped John to die, that is what he wanted. I would never find them guilty for helping him,'' she said. ''If someone helped him, I think that was in God's hands.''"

A quick search on the web reveals that the venerable Hemlock Society is no more, but that there remain non-profit organizations devoted to the idea of dignified death, its discussion, and to changing legislation on the subject: here is the website of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.

1 comment:

Carla said...


Thanks so much for blogging on this most important of topics.

I posted today on the Compassion & Choices blog about this very issue. An excerpt:

This week in the news we’ve witnessed the symptoms of a growing national crisis. Unbearable suffering leads to covert, appalling options that many dying people face at the end of life.

Please take a moment today to let your local news media know how important it is for terminally ill individuals to have legal options at the end of life.

The developments in Arizona and Georgia illustrate the desperation many patients feel. The need for rational public policy on end-of-life choices has never been greater. Terminally ill patients need laws now that provide legal aid in dying. The time has come to close the door on illegal, underground, practices that prompt reckless actions by suffering patients.

Carla Axtman
Online Community Builder
Compassion & Choices