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Georgia’s highest court is set to review an appeal by four members of a suicide group charged with helping a cancer-stricken man kill himself. The Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear the arguments Monday, reports A.P.

The four were indicted by a Forsyth County grand jury in March 2010. They pleaded not guilty to charges that they tampered with evidence, violated anti-racketeering laws and helped the man kill himself.

They argue that Georgia’s statute on assisted suicide is unconstitutional because they say it violates their rights to free speech, equal protection and due process. The trial court rejected those arguments, ruling the statute constitutional.

The high court has agreed to hear their appeal prior to trial to determine whether the trial court erred in ruling the law constitutional.

In April, Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David Dickinson rejected a defense attorney’s free-speech challenge in the case of four members of the “Final Exit Network.”

The four members of the network were arrested in February 2009 after 58-year-old John Celmer’s death at his Cumming home, following an eight-month investigation by state authorities that included an undercover agent posing as someone seeking to commit suicide.

A grand jury in March 2010 indicted Dr. Lawrence Egbert, medical director and co-founder of the group; Ted Goodwin, the group’s former president; group member Claire Blehr; and regional coordinator Nicholas Alec Sheridan.

Georgia law makes 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.” It sets a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

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Friday’s estate sale of Jack Kevorkian’s personal possessions included a variety of items, from his plastic hair comb (didn’t sell) to the initial design prototype for his Thanatron “death machine.”

It had been estimated to sell for $100,000 to $200,000, but the highest bid was $65,000, said the auction firm handling the sale. Little of his small correspondence collection sold, but the only known copy of his “MERCY CLINIC” business card brought in $1,200.

The bullet-proof vest he wore to trials after numerous death threats brought $5,000. His iconic blue cardigan sweater, with careful hand-made repairs, sold for $500. Most of his paintings, each estimated to be worth $70,000 – $100,000, didn’t sell, as the ownership rights to them are disputed by an Armenian museum in the United States.

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Two new internet publications from Derek Humphry:

“How to Make Your Own Helium Hood Kit.” Pamphlet. Illustrated. $5. Download pdf

“Beyond Final Exit: Lessons Learned” Mini ebook. $5 Download pdf

Save them to your computer, also print your own copy.

Go to www.finalexit.org

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KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Derek Humphry, founder of the original Hemlock Society USA in l980, was the keynote speaker at the 2011 annual meeting of Compassion and Choices of Washington state on Saturday, October 22.

A journalist and author, Humphry is well known as the author of the bestselling books ‘Jean’s Way’ and ‘Final Exit’.

There were more than 200 people at the meeting, standing room only!

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How To Make Your Own Helium Hood Kit
Information for competent adults who are terminally or hopelessly ill and wish to die
2011 Addendum to Chapter 23 of Final Exit book & Final Exit on DVD

By Derek Humphry

Published October 2011 10 Pages • PDF * Price: $5.00

Available ONLY through the ERGO Bookstore

NOTE: Persons with severe depression or mental health problems are asked not to use ‘Final Exit’ or the information in this Addendum, but instead seek professional psychological care.

Document Description:
Helium hood kits which have been used by hundreds of people who wished peacefully to end their lives because of protracted terminal or hopeless illness. Unfortunately, currently there are no reliable suppliers of the kits. Thus it is necessary to make your own kit if you wish to explore this form of self-deliverance. This right-to-die method is legal because it is not assisted suicide nor voluntary euthanasia.

Derek Humphry, author of the world’s best-known how-to book on choices in dying, “Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying,” has written this detailed guide to how to make a helium hood kit.

This PDF document, with illustrations, outlines the following points:
• Materials and Items Needed for Helium Method
• Sourcing the Parts and Materials
• Location and Setup
• Preparing the Tanks and Tubing
• Making the “Hood”
• Instructions for Hastening Death (in the event of irreversible illness that is causing unbearable suffering)
• Cautions
• DVD Images and Illustrations
• Book and Video Resources

To ensure a smooth departure, it is strongly advised that a person also carefully reads the latest revised edition of “Final Exit” book/eBook and watches “Final Exit DVD” both available at the ERGO Bookstore.

The author, Derek Humphry, who now has more than 30 years experience in the death with dignity movement, helped his first wife Jean to die when suffering a lingering death from breast cancer. His book on that event, ‘Jean’s Way’ is a cult classic. Five years after her death he founded the Hemlock Society at his new home in Santa Monica. Derek built the group into a national organization between 1980 and 1992.(Hemlock was merged in 2003 into another organization, Compassion and Choices.)

Today Humphry runs the Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization (ERGO), a small, nonprofit organization based outside of Eugene, Oregon. He is a policy adviser to the American group, the Final Exit Network, and to the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, of which he was president in 1988-90.

To get the $5 pamphlet, go to the 2nd icon on the ERGO Bookstore.

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A new position paper just published by the Dutch Physicians Association
(KNMG) says unbearable and lasting suffering should not be the only
criteria physicians consider when a patient requests euthanasia.

The KNMG says the new guidelines will clarify the responsibilities,
possibilities and limitations that physicians have within the
regulations of the 2002 euthanasia law (Termination of Life on Request
and Assisted Suicide [Review Procedures] Act or Euthanasia Act for short).

Until now, factors such as income or a patient’s social life played
almost no role when physicians were considering a euthanasia request.
However, the new guidelines will certainly change that. After almost a
year of discussions, the KNMG has published a paper which says social
factors and diseases and ailments that are not terminal may also qualify
as unbearable and lasting suffering under the Euthanasia Act.

At the moment, there are approximately one million elderly people in the
Netherlands with multi-morbidity (two or more long-term diseases or
ailments) and that number is expected to rise to 1.5 million in the
course of the coming decade. According to the new guidelines,
vulnerability (or fragility) refers to health problems, and the ensuing
limitations, as well as a concurrent decline in other areas of life such
as financial resources, social network and social skills.
…..
Read the whole very interesting article at
http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/euthanasia-advice-redefines-suffering

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The Crown Prosecution Service [in England] has not implemented a “blanket policy” banning the prosecution of cases of assisted suicide, its head has insisted. The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer admitted that no prosecutions had been brought for the offense since new CPS guidelines were issued 18 months ago.

But he said after personally overseeing all the “unique” cases since then, none have involved an individual who was “motivated by the prospect of gaining from the victim’s death”.

Mr Starmer’s comments came after campaigners against a change in assisted suicide law claimed prosecutors were interpreting the new guidelines too liberally and risked creating “legalisation by stealth”.

Supporters of a change in the law however said the protocol – which was introduced in February last year and put the motives of those assisting suicide at the centre of the decision over whether they should be prosecuted – is not enough.

In an interview with The Times newspaper, Mr Starmer said: “Any inference that the Crown Prosecution Service has implemented a blanket policy of simply not prosecuting for this offence would be wrong. Each case is carefully considered on its own facts and merits. Prosecutors must decide the importance of each public interest factor in the circumstances of each case and go on to make an overall assessment.

“Assisting or encouraging suicide remains a criminal offence, and there must always be a thorough investigation into any suspected cases.”

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Two matters which might (or might not) affect you:
#1.
The FBI is still pressing local police and Interpol to visit persons who have been in contact with the GLADD Group, in Southern California, over helium hood kits. New York police, for instance, have made some ‘wellness checks’ six weeks ago, and again in recent days! And customers of GLADD have also been recently visited in Canada and Switzerland.

So don’t be surprised if you still get a call from police. Just assure them that you are well, thank you, and that the reason you contacted GLADD was in case of serious illness in the future. Do not invite them in (unless they have a search warrant, which is unlikely.) Handle their call on your doorstep.

These police ‘wellness checks’ are legal under health laws.

GLADD has of course been shut down by the FBI since 25 May, and the 91-year-old manufacturer of the kits on her home sewing machine, Sharlotte Hydorn, is still waiting to see if she is going to be prosecuted for anything.

# 2
The old canard about helium being diluted so that it is no longer lethal is circulating again. It is of course not true.

If the manufacturers diluted their helium they would lose the multi-million business from industry, science, laboratories, diving companies, and the party balloon kits. Plus, if they diluted the helium, by law they would have clearly to mark every canister with that information.

In the ten years since the helium hood method of self-deliverance from a terminal illness has been publicly known — and used — an instance of dilution of this inert gas has never surfaced. Hundreds of dying persons have used this escape route from their suffering.

Derek Humphry, president, ERGO. Author ‘Final Exit’

www.finalexit.org ergo@finalexit.org

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Terminally ill patients should receive medical help to commit suicide if
they want to die, a [UK] government adviser has said.

Martin Green, a social care expert for the Department of Health, said
those who were physically unable to end their own lives were being
deprived of “choice” and “autonomy” in Britain where assisted suicide
remains illegal. He has now called for a change in the law.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said policy should be
decided with either a referendum or a free vote in Parliament.

“If you’re going to give people ‘choice’, it should extend to whether or
not they want to die,” he told the paper. “If people have got the
capacity to make an informed choice then it is my view that they should
be allowed to make the informed choice.”

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Andrew Barkley writes to ERGO: I’m an author and someone living with a critical illness. I’ve recently written a poem in support of ‘dignity in dying’.

Ode to Life – TIME

Life is retiring me, how am I to cope?

Futile now it seems, my last lifeline of hope

What is to become of me, this frail life I behold

Soon I will need to be bathed, fed, and clothed

Society imposes on me, to gracefully grow old

To let mother nature decide my fate, so I am told

Where is the grace in dying, my body indisposed

Shall I call time on this lifeline, for whom the bell tolls.

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