Pioneer Press, Letters to the Editor for December 27, 2016
On Dec. 19, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Final Exit Network for “speech” that enabled one of its members to commit suicide after suffering severe chronic pain for more than a decade. The “crime” was giving this person a web-page address to purchase the best-selling book, Final Exit, which is widely available in public libraries.
The book, by Derek Humphry, the founder of the Hemlock Society, the original right-to-die organization, has a section that describes ways in which a dying person may consider hastening the end of their life if suffering is unbearable. It also explores the moral, legal, psychological and family relationship aspects of dying and hastened death. It strongly encourages the consideration of all other alternatives and options and supports the use of living wills and medical counseling to prepare for end-of-life choices.
If merely sharing information about such a book is illegal in Minnesota, our freedom of choice and speech is sadly restricted. Final Exit Network will appeal the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court to restore these liberties. I hope readers will join our effort.
— Gary M. Wederspahn, South St. Paul
The writer is a board member of Final Exit Network