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06 Feb 2012 10:16


U.S.: Georgia court strikes down assisted suicide law on free-speech grounds

  • The State has failed to provide any explanation or evidence as to why a public advertisement or offer to assist in an otherwise legal activity is sufficiently problematic to justify an intrusion on protected speech rights.
  • The Georgia Supreme Court • In a unanimous ruling on a 1994 assisted suicide law that said two things — one, it didn’t fully make assisted suicides illegal, and two, it blocked legal forms of free speech, meaning that the law ran smack-first into the First Amendment. As a result of the incident, members of the Final Exit Network, who were facing charges over allegedly helping a cancer-stricken man die, won’t face trial for the incident. The 1994 law, passed in the wake of Jack Kevorkian, made it a felony for anyone who “publicly advertises, offers or holds himself or herself out as offering that he or she will intentionally and actively assist another person in the commission of suicide and commits any overt act to further that purpose.” source

03 Jun 2011 14:08


U.S.: Defending Dr. Death: On Jack Kevorkian’s right-to-die legacy

  • A complex ambassador for a complex debate: The death of Jack Kevorkian, which wasn’t artificial, is a great time to reflect on what he meant to an issue still fully unresolved to this day: The right-to-die debate. Jack was a purely Michigan icon, an idiosyncratic figure who defines the post-industrial shakiness and weirdness of the state the same way that two other purely Michigan icons of the era, Insane Clown Posse and Eminem, did — by taking a dark, tough-to-grasp issue or demeanor and just going for it, without worrying about the consequences. It led to over 100 assisted suicides that Kevorkian played a direct role in, a number of legal cases, a raised profile for lawyer Geoffrey Fieger (who actually made a failed gubernatorial run back in 1998), and finally, jail time for Kevorkian. While some criticize what Kevorkian did to this day, we think he represented an important role that actually got people to think about a real issue. More thoughts:
  • Freedom of death One philosophy currently in vogue is libertarianism, which focuses on keeping the government as far away from our personal rights as possible. Is there a more libertarian idea than keeping the government out of our final affairs, instead of gumming up the works? The fact of the matter is, he worked with private citizens on private affairs that they agreed to. To us, it only seems fair to respect this. Maybe government shouldn’t be involved here?
  • A changing society The concept of the hospice only grew in the wake of Kevorkian’s notoriety. The National Association of Home Care and Hospice notes that in 1990, the year Kevorkian completed his first assisted suicide, 76,000 people used Medicare Hospice Outlays. In 2008, the number topped 1 million for the first time. So, even if it isn’t exactly done Jack’s way, we are focusing on end-of-life issues more. And that’s a huge credit to him.
  • Was he the right guy? Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson reacted to Kevorkian’s death by suggesting that “the cause of aging and death with dignity is so complex that I don’t think Kevorkian was the right ambassador for that message.” But, really, that was the problem. Nobody was dealing with it on a serious scale until Jack came along. He put the issue in our faces until we finally started to take it seriously. That deserves our respect. source

18 Feb 2010 10:16


Culture: Ray Gosling learns that admitting “mercy killing” on TV a bad idea

  • He was arrested today on suspicion of murder charges. BBC host Ray Gosling may regret his profound admission on “Inside Out” (here’s the video), now that he’s in the hands of authorities. Gosling, who admitted on the show to killing a former AIDS-stricken partner, was arrested for the act. “I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead,” he claimed. “The doctor came back and I said ‘He’s gone’. Nothing more was ever said.” Assisted suicide is illegal in the U.K., by the way. source

16 Feb 2010 16:22


Culture: BBC host Ray Gosling turns his life inside out on “Inside Out”

  • Well, that was a bit unexpected. Ray Gosling, the host of BBC show “Inside Out,” claimed that he killed his very sick AIDS-stricken gay partner on last night’s show. And now police are investigating his claims, which he laid out in great detail. Assisted suicide is illegal in the U.K., by the way. source

31 Dec 2009 17:05


U.S.: Montana Supreme Court: Jack Kevorkian should move here

  • We find nothing in Montana Supreme Court precedent or Montana statutes indicating that physician aid in dying is against public policy.
  • A decision by the Montana Supreme Court • Regarding the fate of Robert Baxter, who wanted to die with a doctor’s aid. He later died on his own. In other words, assisted suicide is now legal in middle-of-nowhere Montana. Montana: It’s where people go to die (with a doctor’s help). source