Assisted Suicide Decision Upheld in MN Court

MN Court of Appeals Maintains Illegality of Assisted Suicide

St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a right-to-die organization that had been found guilty of assisting a Minnesota woman in committing suicide.

According to the Associated Press Final Exit Network Inc. was convicted in 2015 of assisting in the 2007 suicide of 57-year-old Doreen Dunn, who chose to die after a decade of suffering from chronic pain. Final Exit Network Inc. was sentenced to pay $30,000 in fines and cover funeral expenses.

The group decided to appeal the conviction.  According to AP the group argued that Minnesota’s law banning assisted suicide is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment.

In their decision the Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed with Final Exit Network Inc. and upheld the original conviction. The judges explain the Minnesota State Supreme Court already decided Minnesota’s assisted-suicide law is constitutional.

Judge Tracy Smith’s analysis (see previous link) explains, “the Minnesota Supreme Court interpreted the term ‘assists’ as ‘proscrib[ing] speech or conduct that provides another person with what is needed for the person to commit suicide’ or ‘enabl[ing] the person to commit suicide.’”

Minnesota’s pro-life groups are applauding the decision. “Final Exit Network, an assisted suicide advocacy group, purposely came into our state, broke our law and assisted in a suicide of a vulnerable person who needed care, not suicide.” says Scott Fishbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), “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.” says Fishbach.

In 2015 the “Minnesota Compassionate Care Act” was introduced to open the doors to physician-assisted suicide but never passed. Senator Chris Eaton, the Senate bill author, pledged to introduce a new bill in 2017. MCCL says it will continue to oppose “any effort to put vulnerable lives at risk by the legalization of assisted suicide.”

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Julia Erynn