Feed on

I just read Richard Cote’s “In Search of Gentle Death” and applaud his
extensive knowledge in this thorough account of the Hemlock movement. It
was especially nostalgic for me, as a former member of the national
board from 1993-99.
Although my chapter, “Connecticut Hemlock Society”, is no longer active, there is still an interest in how to end our lives peacefully. People will
call me on occasion to talk and get information.
This book is a MUST for your library. I was especially interested in
hearing how dying with dignity was dealt with in other countries and he
covered this topic extensively. I didn’t want the book to end and hope
the States that permit referendums will be successful in passing laws.
Because this is such a volatile topic for legislators, who fear not
being re-elected because of offending “the religious right”, we can’t
expect success unless the people have their independent vote.
I’d like to see a sequel to Cote’s book on this subject. Good luck,
Dick! I’m recommending the book to everyone I speak to.
—Ilene Kaplan
Founder, Ct. Hemlock Society (1989-2005)
Footnote: Cote’s book is available from Amazon.com
or direct from its publisher, Corinthian Books, SC www.corinthianbooks.com

The story of Hemlock on Wikipedia at

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Two new videos on YouTube are concerned with the background to the US movement for the right to choose to die when at life’s end.
They are short and to the point.
Here are the links:


Tags: , , , , , , ,

I am happy to announce the publication
of my book, “In Search of Gentle Death: The Fight
for Your Right to Die With Dignity.”
479-page, deluxe hardcover edition, which took
five years to research and write, contains 92
photographs and illustrations, a full
bibliography, and a comprehensive index.
An ebook version will also be available soon, and for
those without an ebook reader, or who live
outside the U.S., a PDF version on a USB flash
drive is also available now. The book charts the
founding and explosive growth of the movement
from 1975 to present, and presents the reader
with the full range of procedures he or she can
employ to ensure that their eventual death takes
place at the time, place, and under the
conditions of their own choosing. The hardcover
and flash drive versions are available now for
immediate shipment worldwide from the publisher’s
website: www.corinthianbooks.com. It accepts
orders and payment via virtually any debit or
credit card.
I would again like to thank the countless people who generously opened
their minds and hearts to me, sharing their facts, feelings, experiences, and photographs, for without them, this book could never have told
the Movement’s story, purpose, goals, and achievements to the extent that it has. – Richard N. Cote’, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina USA /
(PS There is a foreword to this book by Derek Humphry.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PRESS RELEASE from the Final Exit Network
May 14, 2012


HASTINGS, Minnesota — James Backstrom, the Dakota County prosecutor, called a press conference to deny that he has initiated a war on the right-to-die movement by securing a 17-count indictment against Final Exit Network and four of its volunteers.
As Final Exit Network had predicted, the grant jury handed down the indictment on Friday, May 11, 2012. But the indictment remained sealed until Monday, when Backstrom called a 3 p.m. press conference to release the indictment and plenty of misinformation about Final Exit Network.
“It is appalling that the government would spend so much of its resources in this political prosecution,” said Final Exit Network’s president, Wendell Stephenson. “We look forward to an opportunity to bring out the truth about Final Exit Network’s compassionate volunteers in court.”
The indictment charges Final Exit Network, Inc., a nonprofit corporation approved by the Internal Revenue Service to receive tax deductible contributions; two former presidents, Ted Goodwin, 65, of suburban Atlanta and Punta Gorda, Florida; Jerry Dincin, 81, of suburban Chicago; a former medical director, Dr. Larry Egbert, 83, of Baltimore; and a former case coordinator, Roberta Massey, 66, of Delaware.
Dincin and Egbert are alleged to have been present, serving as Exit Guides, at the death of Doreen Nan (Gunderson) Dunn, 57, who died at her home in Apple Valley, Minnesota on May 30, 2007. FEN, Dincin, and Egbert were each charged Continue Reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

HASTINGS, Minnesota — James C. Backstrom, the prosecutor in this
suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul, is launching an attack on the right-to-die
Backstrom has publicly revealed plans to secure grand jury indictments this
Friday (May 11, 2012) against Final Exit Network, one of the nation’s leading
organizations in the movement for the right to death with dignity.
Final Exit Network is an all-volunteer group of senior citizens who provide
information, education and emotional support to its members when they have
made a competent decision to terminate intolerable suffering.
The Dakota County grand jury is investigating the May 30, 2007 suicide of
Doreen Dunn in Apple Valley, Minnesota, in Dakota County. She suffered from
permanent, incurable, painful, debilitating conditions that, her doctor wrote, made her unable to sit or stand for more than 10 minutes at a time, sleep for more than four hours a night, travel, work, or enjoy “any social life.” She herself wrote that she experienced great pain from “any pressure” or “any movement.”
While it is illegal to assist in a suicide in most states, under its protocols, Final Exit Network carefully does not cross the line into “assisting” in its members’ suicides. Final Exit Network volunteers attend deaths to provide emotional support to their members, but they do not provide the means for their members to hasten their deaths, and they do not physically assist.
The Final Exit Network corporation and seven of its members were charged
in 2009 with assisting in suicides in Arizona and Georgia. Those prosecutions
ended in failure. Nobody from Final Exit Network has ever been adjudicated
guilty of assisting in a suicide.
“We wish County Attorney Backstrom would learn something from the
history of these prosecutions,” said Final Exit Network’s president, Wendell
Stephenson, an Continue Reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Due to the many interesting questions posed by customers, there is now an extended, revised version of the pamphlet “How to Make Your Own Helium Hood Kit” dealing with these inquiries.
(The technique remains the same.) It can be digitally downloaded (with illustrations) for $7 at the ERGO Bookstore.
—- Derek Humphry, author, “Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying” 3rd edition 2010.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Derek Humphry

If there is anybody in the right-to-die movement who made a radical difference it was Dr. Peter Goodwin, who brought his life to an end on 11 March 2012 in the presence of his family, using the law he helped to pass. Aged 83, he suffered from an incurable brain illness.

Up until the time when he joined Hemlock and then in l992 chaired the Oregon Right to Die Committee, the American movement campaigned for both voluntary euthanasia (direct injection) and physician-assisted suicide (oral ingestion). Hemlock’s model law, which had been narrowly voted down in California and Washington states, specified both forms of hastened death.

But Peter argued that the law was more likely to pass if it sanctioned only physician-assisted suicide. He persuaded his colleagues that enough doctors were willing to help terminally ill people die but that injecting lethal doses was abhorrent to them. It smacked too much of killing. He argued successfully that a single-purpose law, with the doctor playing a more remote role – prescribing the lethal overdose but not being present — would succeed in Oregon. The final responsibility lay with the patient.

Peter’s next contribution was to attend the annual meeting of the Oregon Medical Society and persuade its members to not oppose the
law when it came up for a vote by citizens’ ballot initiative, now named the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. He failed to get the Medical Society to support the law but at least they agreed to not oppose it.

Voters approved the law in l994 and again in l997. The Oregon- type law has since been passed in Washington state and introduced in England and many other places since. Residents of Oregon who were close to death, and met the law’s requirements, and used it, now number 596 since it became operational in l998.

Medical training

Peter Goodwin was born in London, England, on December 11, 1928, and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. He Continue Reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

A valuable web site from the Death With Dignity National Center
outlines the current stages of various ‘right-to-die’ or opposing bills now in front of American legislatures.
Worth visiting at


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“How to die in Oregon” a video by Peter Richardson

The DVD of this prize-winning documentary is now available to order OUTSIDE the US and Canada. Here’s the link to order:

To order WITHIN the USA and Canada, go to
the DVD distributor’s webpage:


NOTE: This is not an ERGO project, though we heartily endorse it because of its high quality. I am very briefly in the video giving the history of the progressive side of the movement for the right to die…Derek Humphry

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Press release

ATLANTA, Georgia, Feb. 6, 2012 — The Supreme Court of Georgia today struck down the state’s assisted-suicide law, abruptly terminating the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s prosecution of four Final Exit Network right-to-die activists.

The state high court agreed with the 3,000-member, national not-for-profit organization’s argument that the Georgia law violated the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the corresponding provision of the Georgia Constitution.

“We are overjoyed for our friends and colleagues who were so unjustly treated like criminals for three years,” said FEN’s president, Wendell Stephenson, a college ethics professor, of Fresno, California. “These are good and compassionate people who did not break any laws.”
FEN’s former president, Ted Goodwin, who turns 66 next week, of suburban Atlanta and Punta Gorda, Florida; its former medical director, Lawrence D. Egbert, 84, of Baltimore; a case coordinator, Nicholas A. Sheridan, 62, of Baltimore; and an “exit guide,” Claire H. Blehr, 79, of suburban Atlanta, had each been free on $60,000 bail since their arrest on February 25, 2009. The case never came to trial.

FEN and its volunteers argued that the Georgia law prohibited Continue Reading »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »