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** Final Exit Network Appeals Minnesota Conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Final Exit Network has petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to reverse a 2015 Minnesota conviction, saying Minnesota violated its First Amendment-protected right to freedom of speech.

The Florida-based non-profit corporation, Final Exit Network, Inc., was convicted in Hastings, Minnesota in 2015 on a charge of assisting in a suicide. The proof at trial, however, established that Final Exit Network’s volunteer Exit Guides did not assist Doreen Dunn, 57, an Apple Valley, MN resident, in her self-deliverance. In keeping with Final Exit Network’s usual practices, they only instructed her on the process.

The Supreme Court of Minnesota redefined the word assist to prohibit speech that enables a suicide. Final Exit Network argues in its petition for review, docketed in the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday, June 13, that no American court has ever stretched the word “assist” to prohibit pure speech, without any conduct.

The Network’s petition in the United States Supreme Court emphasizes the information the Network gave Dunn “is readily available in bookstores, libraries, and online and is depicted in movies, documentaries, and articles of every sort,” and Minnesota may not make it a crime to repeat this information.

The Network’s petition takes pains to clearly define the difference between the Minnesota case and the recent case of Michelle Carter, a teenager who was convicted in Massachusetts last week of involuntary manslaughter for causing the suicide of her boyfriend through text messages and phone calls in which she clearly encouraged him, shaming him into staying in a vehicle as he was dying of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Carter case has alarmed free speech advocates. The ACLU of Massachusetts, for instance, issued a statement that “Ms. Carter’s conviction could chill important and worthwhile end-of-life discussions between loved ones across the Commonwealth.” Robert Rivas, Final Exit Network’s general counsel, who defended the Network at the Minnesota trial and authored the Network’s petition in the U.S. Supreme Court, disagreed.

The Massachusetts court found that Carter could be convicted if her “conduct caused the victim’s death.” The court ruled that at trial, Carter’s “verbal conduct” would have to be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have “caused” her 18-year-old boyfriend’s death by “overcoming any independent will to live he might have had.”

“The requirement of ‘causation’ in the Massachusetts case makes all the difference in the world,” Rivas said. “Final Exit Network was not convicted of ‘causing’ Ms. Dunn’s death.”

The Network’s petition for U.S. Supreme Court review said the instructions to the jury Continue Reading »

BOOK REVIEW in the Final Exit Network’s newsletter, May 2017

Good Life, Good Death (Carrel Books, New York)
by Derek Humphry

Review by Huck DeVenzio

When I saw this book I wanted to like it so I could write a favorable review. After all, it was by and about a most influential figure in the right-to-die movement.
Happily, I like the book quite a bit, but not for the reasons I expected.
This new book is Derek Humphry s memoir of his
life. I thought I would like it for its information on the start and evolution of death with dignity. That history is covered and is interesting, but I enjoyed even more
the stories Humphry relates: the spelling of his name, his nomadic and nearly parent-less childhood, ducking German buzz bombs in World War II England, launching his career as a journalist, marital bliss and marital tragedy, and the story assignments for his
He has led a fascinating life -the kind
of life that inspires advice like ?You should write a book and he tells his tales in an engaging manner without hyperbole.
I can judge how much I like a book by how hard I
try to squeeze reading chapters between other activities. Do I turn off TV early so I can read longer in bed before falling asleep? I skipped television several times before finishing Good Life, Good Death.


Preview the book on YouTube at

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It is a remarkable and encouraging statement of the real progress that the world right-to-die movement has made that today’s Sunday New York Times front page lead story is about doctor-assisted suicide, or doctor-assisted dying, whichever you like to call it.
This article concerns Canada where, as with the arrival of the Hemlock Society USA, the choice movement began in l980 when the subject was almost unmentionable in North America. There are now six states in the USA with doctor-assisted dying laws.
An interesting difference is that Canadian doctors (as in the Netherlands) can offer the patient choice of death by injection or orally. The US laws allow only drinking the lethal substance.
– Derek Humphry, Oregon


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New book 'Good Life, Good Death'Good Life, Good Death
The story of my varied life as a journalist in the UK and USA, founder of the Hemlock Society USA, and pioneer of choice in dying laws in America. A quality hardback book, clear typeface. Get it from my website and it’s autographed and — if you request it — inscribed to you. If you’re not in America, order it from your country’s Amazon Book store. Good Life, Good Death — memoir.

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Legislation that would authorize people with terminal illnesses to request life-ending drugs from physicians is again before state lawmakers in the state of New York, though top lawmakers are either skeptical about its chances or firmly opposed.

Undeterred, several supporters gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday,
hoping stories of loved ones lost to painful illness might convince
lawmakers to add New York to the list of five states that already allow
physician-assisted suicide.

The bill before the Assembly and the Senate would allow terminally ill
people to request life-ending drugs from physicians
. Two doctors would
have to certify that a patient is competent to make the decision and is
suffering from a terminal illness, and physicians could refuse to
participate for any reason. Two witnesses would be required to be
present when a patient completes a written request.

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Medical Aid in Dying Library
I am liquidating my entire collection of books on medical aid in dying. There are over 300 titles, most hardcopy, and all are in good to excellent condition. Many are now out of print and are not available digitally.

I have not set a price and will consider a “best offer,” or would consider donating to a library or research organization in consideration of a charitable receipt for tax purposes. For a complete list of titles please send me an email with the word “books” in the subject line.

Roland Halpern -email rolandhalpern@msn.com

Derek Humphry adds: I know Roland to be a long-time worker in our field, thus would expect his library to worthwhile.

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Books that started significant movements
or new awareness in the 20th century:

The well of loneliness, by Radcliffe Hall, 1928
Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson 1962
Unsafe at any speed, by Ralph Nader 1965
(vehicular safety)
Situation Ethics: The New Morality, by Joseph Fletcher 1966
(Moral responsibility)
And the band played on, by Randy Shilts 1987
Final Exit, by Derek Humphry 1991

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Physician-assisted suicides up in the Netherlands

Cases of euthanasia are reportedly on the rise in the Netherlands. A
total 6,091 cases were registered last year ? a 10% rise compared to 2015.

As reported by Dutch News online, euthanasia now accounts for 4% of
total deaths.

Meanwhile, the regional monitoring boards said the rules for euthanasia
were not followed correctly in 10 cases. Most of this involved a failure
to properly consult a second doctor. In one case, a doctor was
reprimanded for ?crossing the line? with a patient suffering from severe

Of the total, 87% of assisted deaths involved people with cancer,
serious heart or lung problems or diseases of the nervous system such as
ALS. There were 32 more cases of assisted suicide involving people with

In addition, there were 60 cases involving people with severe
psychiatric problems, a rise of four on 2015.

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To hear Derek Humphry talk about his new book “Good Life, Good Death”
watch on YouTube at this link


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Part of the Washington Post’s reporting 22 March 2017 on the senate hearings on whether to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court:

Senator Diane Feinstein with Judge Gorsuch….

The two also discussed a book that Gorsuch wrote in which he opposed physician-assisted suicide, and said any taking of a human life was wrong.

Feinstein mentioned the death of her father and a close friend, which she said were agonizing. She mentioned California’s recent physician-assisted suicide law.

“My heart goes out to you,” Gorsuch said, and then appeared to choke up when he mentioned the death of his own father. He said his personal views would have no role in his duties as a judge, and noted the Supreme Court has ruled that states may allow laws such as California’s.
end extract

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