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Letter to the Editor of the Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, 21 August 2017:

Death With Dignity law falls short

I read with interest about the new organization in Oregon dealing with death with dignity (guest viewpoint, Aug. 16).

The Oregon Death With Dignity law is good, but can be more compassionate. It could be expanded to be more inclusive of people who are suffering needlessly. There are many people lying in bed with miserable qualities of life who wish there was a third option to terminate their suffering.

I recently started a drive to get a petition going to change the Oregon law. I recently was in contact with Derek Humphry, author of “Final Exit.” He was also an original driver behind our first law. He originally wanted it expanded to begin with, but had to compromise.

I’ve been in contact with the national Death With Dignity groups and they didn’t want to talk to me. Humphry explained that Oregon’s law is the model for the rest of the nation. Proponents are afraid that if we try to change it, that’ll proved it’s a flawed law and will hurt their efforts.

My reply is yes, we have a good law, but it needs to be more compassionate. Oregon is a compassionate state; that’s already proven. Why stick the other states with the original restrictive law? Help us fix our law and be a better example.

—Bruce Yelle, Florence, Oregon

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The blog of the Oxford University Press August 22, 2017, printed this article about free speech and the right-to-die movement:

Is advocating suicide a crime under the First Amendment?
Rational Suicide, Irrational Laws: Examining Current Approaches to Suicide in Policy and Law

By Susan Stefan
Two different cases raising similar issues about advocating suicide may shape US policy for years to come. In Massachusetts, Michelle Carter was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for urging her friend Conrad Roy not to abandon his plan to kill himself by inhaling carbon monoxide: “Get back in that car!” she texted, and he did. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has already ruled that prosecuting her for involuntary manslaughter was permissible, even though she was not on the scene. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was careful to insist that its holding did not criminalize assisting the suicide of a person with a terminal illness:

It is important to articulate what this case is not about. It is not about a person seeking to ameliorate the anguish of someone coping with a terminal illness and questioning the value of life. Nor is it about a person offering support, comfort and even assistance to a mature adult who, confronted with such circumstances, has decided to end his or her life.

And now the case of Final Exit v. Minnesota is before the Supreme Court, with Final Exit asking the Supreme Court to take the case and overturn its conviction for assisting the suicide of Doreen Dunn on First Amendment grounds. Notably, no individual was convicted in that case: the medical director was given use immunity to testify against the organization, which was found guilty of the crime, and was fined $30,000.

Final Exit Network was convicted Continue Reading »

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Attorney Robert Rivas posted in Final Exit Network web page:

“The Scotusblog (“Scotus” = Supreme Court of the United States), a blog by experts in the Scotus, has selected Final Exit Network’s Petition for a Writ of Certiorari as its featured “Petition of the Day” for July 27, 2017. Scotusblog says its “Petition of the Day” features petitions that are likely to appear on its “Petitions to Watch” list when they are scheduled for consideration by the Justices.

“Petitions of the day” are described as those that are “identified as raising one or more questions that have a reasonable chance of being granted in an appropriate case.” Fingers crossed. This is the appeal on First Amendment grounds from the Minnesota conviction.

http://www.scotusblog.com/2017/07/petition-of-the-day-1192/Petition of the day – SCOTUSblog”

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Inaugural 2017 NuTech Prize

It is with great pleasure that Exit International announces the establishment of a prize to be awarded to the most innovative use of technology to improve the means of providing a peaceful, elective and autonomous (DIY) death.

The US$5000 prize will be awarded at the NuTech 2017 gathering in Toronto on 28th October 2017.
There is no entry fee required, and all submitted ideas will be considered for the award.

To submit a proposal (idea, draft, concept, or prototype) you are invited to contact NuTech at nutech@protonmail.com with a short (<500 word) summary of your proposal and (if applicable) related images.

A person submitting a proposal is welcome to attend the Toronto meeting, either in person or by video link, to speak about their idea.
Proposals will be considered by a specially convened judging panel consisting of:

Derek Humphry
Derek has had a lifetime of experience in the right to die movement, and authored the pioneering self-help manual Final Exit in 1991. Derek was instrumental in the establishment of the NuTech movement.

Tom Curran
Tom lives in Ireland and is the European coordinator of Exit International. He came to international prominence when, together with his partner, MS sufferer Marie Fleming, took a case for access to legal assistance to die to the Irish Supreme and High Courts.

Miriam de Bontridder
Miriam is an Appeals Court judge in NL with a long history of involvement in the Dutch right to die movement. Miriam lives in Amsterdam and is a Chairperson of Stichting De Einder.

For further information about the prize, or the NuTech (Toronto) gathering, please contact NuTech nutech@protonmail.com or by phone Philip Nitschke +31 630 966 992

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Stuff.co.nz website reports 13 July 2017:
Dodgy scam site uses Kiwi pro-euthanasia protest imagery to sell bogus suicide drugs

Pro-euthanasia lobby group Exit International is warning its members off a scam website, based in the Ukraine, which is fleecing the elderly by selling the popular and costly suicide drug Nembutal, which never arrives.

Those falling for the scam are mostly elderly people, many in poor health and with little internet savvy.

They are being gouged about $1100 – the price of a 25gm dose of the drug – and are too frightened to go to the authorities to complain about buying an illegal substance.

Exit founder Philip Nitschke said about three of its members were in contact every week about the ripoff as the market for the lethal Class C controlled drug, used in assisted suicide, grows worldwide.

The Painless Path website uses a Stuff picture of supporters protesting outside the assisted suicide trial of Wellington euthanasia advocate Susan Austen.

Austen, 66, a Lower Hutt teacher, was charged in October 2016 with having twice imported pentobarbitone, more commonly known by its trade name Nembutal. In high doses, it causes death by respiratory arrest.

Nitschke was gobsmacked the site offered cheaper rates for teenagers and said the use of a news photo featuring euthanasia lobbyists in genuine protest was perfect for a scam site as it appeared credible and featured people from an older demographic.

Exit’s handbook lists a handful of legitimate sites in Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and China but Nitschke says there are nearly 100 scam sites, a number that is growing in parallel with the rising global demand for the drug as an end-of-life option.

“Luckily they don’t sell anything, just take your money. We’ll be alerting members … the steady growth in internet scams over the past decade is an indication of the growing global market in this drug ,” he said.

The handbook had been updated to list bogus sites.

Nitschke said sites like Painless Path relied on those who fell for the scam being too frightened or sick to report it to the authorities.

“This is a vulnerable group who can hardly go to authorities saying I lost money buying this illegal drug. They’d be admitting to breaking the law.”

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New memoir by Derek Humphry — on Amazon etc

** 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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