Today's sentencing of Final Exit Network by Dakota Co. Judge Christian S. Wilton sends a very clear message that assisting suicide is illegal in our state, and that violations of our law will be punished. We commend Dakota Co. District Attorney James Backstrom and his counsel for having the courage to prosecute this violation. Final Exit Network purposely came into our state, broke our law and assisted in the suicide of a vulnerable person who needed care, not suicide.
Our law protecting Minnesotans from suicide predators like Final Exit Network and other assisted suicide advocates has been in place since 1992 and has served all of us well.
Final Exit Network and other groups seek to legalize assisted suicide, which can lead to:
- Abuse: Abuse of people with disabilities, and elder abuse. An heir or abusive caregiver may steer someone towards assisted suicide, witness the request, pick up the lethal dose, and even give the drug.
- Mistakes: Diagnoses of terminal illness are too often wrong, leading people to give up on treatment and lose good years of their lives.
- Carelessness: People with a history of depression and suicide attempts have received the lethal drugs.
- Contagion: Assisted suicide is a contagion and can increase suicide rates for all populations.
- Trauma: Stress disorder rates increase for family and friends who participate in a suicide.
The fine imposed upon Final Exit Network reaffirms our law's intent to protect those who could become victims of assisted suicide in Minnesota.
More information about growing opposition to assisted suicide can be found at the website of Minnesotans Against Assisted Suicide (MNAAS) at www.mnaas.org.