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U.S. State of Georgia strikes down assisted suicide law Options · View
Buz
Posted: Monday, February 06, 2012 11:16:35 AM

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(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously struck down the state's assisted-suicide law, finding it violates the free speech clauses of the Georgia and U.S. Constitutions.

In 2010, a Forsyth grand jury indicted Ted Goodwin and three others for violating the state's assisted-suicide law. They were charged in connection with the 2008 suicide of 58-year-old John Celmer, who killed himself two years after he had been diagnosed with cancer.

In 2010, a Forsyth grand jury indicted Ted Goodwin and three others for violating the state's assisted-suicide law. They were charged in connection with the 2008 suicide of 58-year-old John Celmer, who killed himself two years after he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Final Exit Network defendants Lawrence Egbert (left) and Nicholas Sheridan (right) are arraigned in Forsyth County on April 1, 2010, on charges they helped a man with cancer kill himself. Members of Final Exit Network, an assisted suicide group, pled not guilty.
John Spink, jspink@ajc.com Final Exit Network defendants Lawrence Egbert (left) and Nicholas Sheridan (right) are arraigned in Forsyth County on April 1, 2010, on charges they helped a man with cancer kill himself. Members of Final Exit Network, an assisted suicide group, pled not guilty.

The court's ruling means that four members of the Final Exit Network do not have to stand trial on felony charges in Forsyth County. They were charged in connection with the 2008 suicide of 58-year-old John Celmer, who killed himself two years after he had been diagnosed with cancer.

The state Legislature passed the law in 1994 to punish people like the late Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist known as "Dr. Death" and who died in June. He catapulted to fame in the early 1990s by overseeing the suicides of more than 100 people, prompting a number of states to criminalize assisted suicide.

Georgia's law 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." The crime carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

How do you feel? Should it be legal to help someone commit suicide or not?

Guest
Posted: Monday, February 06, 2012 12:28:34 PM

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Yes it should be legal. It's a personal matter that no one has the right to interfere with. Jack K. was a hero in my eyes.
sprite
Posted: Monday, February 06, 2012 12:36:57 PM

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if the quality of someone's life, if the physical suffering they are enduring, knowing that their condition is terminal, leads them to desire to end their life, their pain, their suffering, with dignity, then that is their right.

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ArtMan
Posted: Monday, February 06, 2012 8:13:49 PM

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If someone is suffering unbearable pain and they have a fatal disease I do not see why someone should not be able to help them come to a much quicker and painless dignified end.

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abygaleturner69
Posted: Monday, February 06, 2012 8:33:55 PM

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Under extreme conditions, yes, why this should not be legal. I think there should be at least a 3rd opinion by a specialist to confirm it is a fatal disease. This is a more dignified way than following hospital protocal of a "slow code" or "no code" response by medical staff. DRO is legal so why not give the fatal person a chance to die painlessly and more dignified.

Abby
VanGogh
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 12:34:57 AM

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How sad that the law was repealed. Sad for all those in the process of putting their affairs in order.

Freedom of Choice ... whether it be Assisted Suicide for someone with a terminal illness to have the right to die with dignity and on their own terms .... or abortion (there's another huge can of opinions!).

I am all for Freedom of Choice with proof that one is informed of their decision.

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lafayettemister
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 7:52:29 AM

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A person should be able to decide how he dies. If he has a terminal illness and suffering, how inhumane to make he live longer and suffer more than he wants or should. And how hypocritical. How is this any different than a person having a DNR order. It's very common now for a person to tell his loved ones and doctors to not keep him/her alive with the use of machines. Or to only allow for machines to breathe for a person for a certain amount of time. It's the same thing. Turning off a machine that could breathe for a patient because he has/had a DNR is still ending his life by his choice.

One of my very best friends had a terminal illness. Cystic fibrosis. He wasn't supposed to live beyond 6 yrs old. Then 10. Then 15, then 18. That fucker lived until just before his 38th birthday. I visited him in the hospital the week he died. He had already had one double lung transplant that gave him the most healthy 4-5 years of his life. After his body began to reject them, he recieved another double lung transplant. Those never took root. He was never the same. He was hooked to a respirator for the last 8 months of his life. He wasn't getting better and we all knew it. When I saw him last, he kept increasing the Oxygen percentage he was receiving via the respirator. Since the nurse and his wife weren't around, his brother and I didn't know he wasn't supposed to be doing that. He wasn't the same Brian. We could see he was done.

The next day, he told his wife he couldn't fight anymore. Told her and his daughter goodbye. The machines were turned off, he breathed on his own for a very short time. Then drifted off to sleep. This guy was like my brother. How is what was done for him any different than assisted suicide. To have forced him to remain on all those machines, unable to talk. Tethered to his hospital bed and miserable. To have forced him to continue existing like that wold have been inhumane.

Let a person decide when he's had enough.





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Buz
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 7:56:34 AM

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The Georgia State Supreme Court seems to agree with the posters here in favor of the sufferer having the right to decide to end their own life and to get help in doing so. That does seem like to most humane and dignified way to me also.

MoonlightSerenity
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 9:24:40 AM

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I think if someone is terminally ill then it's their right if they want to die with dignity. However those who are depressed shouldn't be helped to commit suicide as there is a chance that they can get better. It just all depends on the situation really.

I do know that some people fly out to Switzerland so that they can die with dignity as assisted suicide is okay there and the way they do it means that the person can have a peaceful escape from life instead of being drugged up for the rest of their life trying to fight whatever it is that's killing them.

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