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Friday, December 10, 2010 - 10:12am

Suicide Rights Group Sues State

A suicide rights group has filed a first-of-its kind free speech lawsuit against the state of Georgia. It comes as four of the group’s members ask a judge to dismiss charges they helped a cancer patient end his life.

The Final Exit Network claims Georgia’s statute against assisted suicide is unconstitutionally vague and violates free speech.State law makes it a felony to “commit any overt act” to further the purpose of suicide.

The Final Exit Network’s Frank Kavanaugh says the groups’ volunteers know the difference between speech and action:
“We’re very careful about what we do, not to physically assist, not to provide the means, simply to provide the information and counseling. We’re willing to be there but we don’t physically assist that operation in any way.”

Meanwhile, a Forsyth County judge did not immediately rule Friday on a request to dismiss the case against four of the network’s members. An undercover officer posing as a suicide candidate testified one of the members showed him how they would hold his hands so he could not remove a helium bag from his face that would help him die.