Wednesday, September 23, 2009

'Cause Hastening Death is Like Robbing Banks and Making Bombs.

The Public Library in Seattle was scheduled to host an Exit International event that would have instructed participants in how to commit assisted suicide. But local law officials advised the city librarian to shut the event down to avoid prosecution:

Section 241 of the Canadian Criminal Code states that it is an indictable offense to counsel or aid or abet any person to commit suicide. The maximum sentence if convicted is 14 years, whether a suicide takes place or not. "This seems sort of, fairly clear to us," Whitney told the media. The two part workshop was to consist of a public discussion on the politics of the assisted suicide movement, and then a private lesson for persons over 55 years of age on specific ways to commit suicide that would include information about which drugs to take, how to obtain them, and how to ingest them. It was this private part of the program that caused the library to cancel the event.

Exit International's controversial founder Dr. Phillip Nitschke hopes to convince the library to reconsider an event that would simply explain information that the library already holds in publication. "What we do at these gatherings is to, first of all, explain to people why we think it's a good idea to know how to kill yourself peacefully and reliably."

John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition British Columbia believes that the library made the right decision. He observed that carrying a book about an illegal activity is not equivalent to holding a seminar on how to accomplish such an activity. "I am certain the Library has books about robbing banks, making bombs, and all sorts of other illegal activity. Can we expect 'how to' workshops on these things in the near future and will the Civil Liberties people be lining up to defend the rights of those presenters too? People who give lessons on how to kill people, be it yourself or someone else, should be dealt with by the police and charged with aiding and abetting."

Death with Dignity is legal in Washington state but the restrictions are extensive. A patient must request lethal drugs from their doctor on numerous occasions and the physician is not permitted to suggest it. The qualifying patient, should they find a willing doctor, must be terminally ill (expected to die within six months) and must be of sound mind.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment attributed to me is accurate but I was commenting on the Library in Vancouver BC decision not the Seattle Library. Helping someone kill themselves is illegal in this country (Canada)

September 23, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Ann Neumann said...

Thanks for your correction! Best, best, Ann

September 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

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