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December 2018

Dear friends and subscribers,

It is the time of the year that I ask you to please make a tax-deductible contribution to help ERGO continue with its work.

What does ERGO do?

(a) Manages the Right-to-Die Listserv, supplying news relevant to the death-with-dignity movement. The email news list currently has 3,400 subscribers, many in the United States and Canada, but also around the world;

(b) Speaks with anxious people every day who make contact about problems with a dying situation, their own or family;

(c) Actively works with EndChoices, a new group campaigning to improve the Oregon Death with Dignity Act so as to include degenerative illness and to modify its Advance Directive. I’m on its Board, which meets at my home;

(d) Speaking engagements on the West coast (most recently San Diego, CA, Florence, OR, and Seattle, WA);

(e) Briefs news media, writers and students on the background and history of the death-with-dignity movement;

(f) Provides quality literature [Final Exit etc.] on request about ways to self-deliver from a terminal or degenerative illness. Book sales help fund ERGO;

(g) ERGO supplies vital information on euthanasia generally at two web sites and a popular blog. (www.finalexit.org / www.assistedsuicide.org / www.assisted-dying.org);

(h) In addition to running ERGO, I’m chairperson of the advisory board of the Final Exit Network which I helped found in 2003. Since it was formed in 1989, I’ve been liaison officer to NUTECH, a restricted international group seeking legal, non-medical ways of self-deliverance.

ERGO is a tiny organization with a loud voice. Nonprofit, tax-deductible since 1993. Staff is only me, with on-call support services. No office rent. But technical support, utilities, travel, advertising, internet fees, telephone and postage are considerable.

ERGO needs your support in whatever sum you feel is right. Contributions are tax deductible 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. ERGO tax ID # is 93-1118314

Please submit your contribution via this link to the ERGO Store:

Or in the regular mail to: ERGO, 24829 Norris Lane, Junction City, Oregon 97448, USA

Remember: Contributions to ERGO are tax-deductible and purchases from the ERGO Bookstore support ERGO.

Have a good life, and a good death. Thank you.

Derek Humphry, journalist & author
President ERGO

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Isn’t it amazing that in Minnesota nowadays you can obtain my book FINAL EXIT at bookstores or libraries but you break the law when you verbally tell a person its contents!

The USA nonprofit advice group, FINAL EXIT NETWORK, out of Florida, has been fined $30,000 plus costs for advising a very sick woman who asked where to get the famous book. US Supreme Court declined to hear the Network’s appeal on 1st Amendment grounds.

Below is the latest comment by a distinguished law professor on yet another appeal by the Network that this Minnesota law as it stands now is nonsense.


Final Exit Network v. Minnesota – 1st Amendment Right to Advise Patients on How to Hasten Death Medical Futility
by Thaddeus Pope, 10 Dec 2018, U.S.

I attended the November 30, 2018 hearing on Minnesota’s motion to dismiss Final Exit Network’s challenge to the Minnesota assisted suicide statute.

The focus of the hearing was on a wide range of standing issues ranging from collateral estoppel, to Rooker Feldman, to the 11th Amendment.

Network lawyer Robert Rivas explained that he is not challenging or seeking re-review of FEN’s conviction in state court. Instead, he is bringing an overbreadth challenge (which is one type of facial challenge). Rivas explained that a librarian who takes the book FINAL EXIT off the shelf and hands it to a patron would be guilty of assisted suicide in Minnesota (or at least in Dakota County).

Moreover, there is a prospect that a FEN exit guide may be assigned to another Minnesota resident and therefore be subject to prosecution. Indeed, current exit guides have already asked Minnesotans to meet them outside Minnesota for counseling. The interpretation of the Minnesota assisted suicide statute to cover mere speech has already created a chilling effect.

Please note: ‘Final Exit’ is a book by Derek Humphry, not an organization. The assistance organization is the Final Exit Network, nonprofit, based in Florida, covers the USA. Both have web sites.

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At any one time there are at least 40 web sites offering to sell the drug Nembutal without the need for a doctor’s prescription. None are known to be reliable.

Not only are they fraudulent but sometimes pretend to be part of genuine right-to-die organization like ERGO or EXIT.

The latest impersonator has stolen the colored banner and logo from ERGO’s web site. They repeat the words “Euthanasia World Directory – Web Site of Hemlock Society Founder Derek Humphry” at the top of their web site.

Another site includes my name “Derek” as a suggestion that I’m involved.

Dr. Philip Nitschke, of Exit International, is an even bigger target for the scammers. Some not only use his name but also his photograph, lifted from his web site.

He has roundly condemned them and warned people extensively.

The scammers usually ask for either $500 or $700 in US dollars to be wired to them via Western Union. They offer liquid Nembutal or Veterinary Nembutal in two bottles, sufficient to end life quickly and painlessly.

A favorite trick of some thieves is to deliver honestly on a couple of orders, gain a good reputation, then when thousands of dollars roll in, fail to respond and Continue Reading »

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There is a world-wide debate about whether or not
patients who are severely demented could be given
doctor-assisted suicide (assisted dying). Perhaps
this forthcoming court case will suggest answers.

Dutch authorities are prosecuting a doctor for performing euthanasia on a patient in the first case of its kind since its legalization 16 years ago.

The decision was taken after a regional euthanasia review board found she had “overstepped the mark” in euthanizing the 74-year-old Alzheimer’s patient.

Prosecutors allege the patient’s will was “unclear and contradictory” when it came to her final wishes.

The doctor, who has not been named, says she acted cautiously in the case.

Her spokesman told Dutch television channel NOS that she welcomed “further guidance on the question of the wishes of incapacitated patients”, but “regrets” that she is being prosecuted over the April 2016 case.

Prosecutors said in this particular instance, the woman “had regularly stated Continue Reading »

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It’s been 24 years since Oregon citizens passed the Death With Dignity Act and ten years since Washington state passed a similar law providing medical assisted dying under tight guidelines.
Altogether, seven US states now have an Oregon-type law. The latest, Hawaii, takes effect next
That’s a big step forward and important help to hundreds of terminally ill people seeking a
peaceful death. In the light of all this experience couldn’t we draft a better law?
It’s time to update and improve this law, chiefly to give adults with serious degenerative illness the chance to qualify for relief.
And to strengthen the Advance Directives (Living Wills as they were known).
Let’s be progressive, not stuck in the past. More people urgently need this type of help. The Oregon legislature will consider these changes next year.
Canada’s new law on this subject is much improved over the Oregon-style laws which were drafted in the early l990s. Much has changed in US medical practice, medical ethics and social awareness.
A re-think is necessary.

Announcing the formation of “IM Euthanasia India” which will be dedicating its efforts to change the premise in the Indian legal system for a ‘Right to Live and Die with Dignity’.

The first announcement through a 25-minutesvideo is already uploaded on the YouTube and with the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLJlRG2anI0&t=2s
Sandeep Sahajpal, (IM – Euthanasia India)
Initiative of “Aashrams – The Home” (Non-Profit Organisation)
eMail: sandeep.sahajpal@icloud.com

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Many, like me, were shocked when the news came out of South Africa on 19 September that the President of
the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, Professor Sean Davison, had been arrested for the murder of his friend, 43-year old former doctor, Anrich Burger. Dr Burger became a quadriplegic after an accident in 2005. He died in November 2013.

A New Zealander by birth, South African by country of residence, Professor Davison came to public prominence in 2010 after he pleaded guilty for helping his terminally ill mother Pat, also a former medical doctor, to end her life in New Zealand.

Sean Davison had earlier admitted to helping Dr Burger to end his life but maintained that he had not broken South African laws.

In the media, Professor Davison was quoted as saying that Dr Burger had organized his own lethal drugs and had repeatedly stated very clearly that he wanted to die.

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Here is huge example of how a book can be misused. They didn’t ask me, the author, for permission. Note that I’ve
always opposed capital punishment…..
Current news story:
Oklahoma is preparing to be the first state in the nation to execute inmates using gas.

After all the mistakes and missteps in administering the death penalty, what state are leaders looking at in their effort to prepare for this new generation of capital punishment?

The last time members of Gov.Mary Fallin’s office wanted to rush through executions using the wrong drug, her general counsel now so famously told the attorney general to “Google it” when he was pushing to allow for the use an unauthorized drug to kill Richard Glossip.

It was more than just Google that got Oklahoma to the point of making history as the first state to transform it’s death chamber from lethal injection to gas.

Lead researcher Michael Copeland teaches criminal justice at East Central University in Ada. His past research for the state has helped on everything from uninsured motorists to how law enforcement handles the mentally ill; this request was different.

“I knew it was a controversial subject and that’s not normally the type of help I give so that part did make me a little apprehensive,” Copeland told FOX 25.

There were three researchers who contributed to the initial report the legislature relied on to adopt nitrogen gas as the primary execution method. One was opposed to the death penalty, one in favor of it, and then there was Copeland.

“I’m sort of caught in between,” Copeland told FOX 25. “I do feel some concerns, but our question wasn’t to solve whether or not Oklahoma should have the death penalty. The question was do we have anything better than the electric chair which would have been the alternative had we not come up with this.”

The attorney general expanded on that to include other inter gases, like helium, which according to the research the state relied on promise a quick and painless death.

“Typically within about 18-20 seconds they’ll pass out,” Copeland said. “Most of the time they won’t notice it at all; some of the time they’ll feel a slight bit of inebriation as if they had been drinking alcohol before they pass out and a very small percent of the time they’ll feel a little bit of nausea.”

Death soon follows. We know this because cited in the documents provided by the Attorney General’s office is the book FINAL EXIT. The book contains details of the experiences of people who’ve used gas to kill themselves.

My book has no connection with judicial execution. It is purely for the terminally ill and those degeneratively ill to end their lives if their suffering is so great,” said author Derek Humphry from his Oregon home. “I’m sorry it is used, however indirectly, with capital punishment.”

Derek Humphry began campaigning for the right-to-die, the assisted suicide movement, 40 years ago. He is opposed to the death penalty and says his work is about preserving humanity and dignity in death, not forcing it upon others.

Humphry did not know his research and experiences were being used to justify gas executions until FOX 25 contacted him after finding his work referenced in the state’s research on nitrogen. He said it might not be as easy for prisons to use gas because it is unlikely inmates will be willing participants.

“We have found that the only secure way of ending life via nitrogen or helium is by putting it into a plastic bag which is over the person’s head and secured at the neck,” Humphry said, “But how the penal authorities plan to do it I do not know.”

The state is not commenting on how it will carry out inert gas executions.

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Right-to-die activist Sean Davison, who appeared in court on a murder charge in Capetown, South Africa, on 19 Sept., is being investigated for more cases of assisted suicide.

Davison is currently president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies which has some 51 affiliates in 28 countries.

Prosecutor Megan Blow asked the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court to postpone the case until November 16 to allow time for more investigations. She said “new information suggests that the accused may have committed murder in a similar fashion on more than one occasion”.

Davison, 57, was charged with the murder in 2013 of a doctor friend, Anrich Burger, who became a quadriplegic after a car crash eight years earlier.

Archbishop Tutu came out with a supportive statement:
“Just as I have argued for compassion and fairness in life, I believe that terminally ill people should be treated with compassion and fairness when it comes to their death,”

Tutu said in a statement after the arrest this week of Sean Davison, who founded DignitySA, a right-to-die group. “This should include affording people who have reached the end-stages of life the right to choose how and when to leave Mother Earth.”

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The State of Oklahoma has decided in future to use the inert gas nitrogen for judicial executions of condemned prisoners. It has not yet done so (09/2018).
The Attorney-General commissioned an inquiry into the effectiveness of nitrogen from three academics at East Central University. In a report covering 300 pages sent to the Oklahamo Department of Corrections the academics found that nitrogen would be an effective alternative
for capital punishment.
To my disappointment, the study partially leaned on my book ‘Final Exit’ –a purpose for which it was definitely not intended. I have always been opposed to capital punishment for two main reasons: (1) it is not a deterrent; and (2) in some cases persons executed were later found to be innocent.
“Final Exit’ has been in constant publication since l991 in English, been translated into twelve major languages, and is in most libraries.
As this report “Nitrogen Induced Hypoxia as a Form of Capital Punishment” is about to made public in the media, here is what it says about its use In self-deliverance by the advanced terminally ill:


Quote on pages 149-150 from the 300 page report

Perhaps one of the greatest testaments to both the humanity of nitrogen induced hypoxia as well as the ease of administration is its rapidly gaining popularity as a self-selected means of suicide. Suicide by hypoxia using an inert gas is the most widely promoted Continue Reading »

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