Rational Suicide: Intended for Seniors and the Seriously Ill (and their families)

Gorsuch Staunchly Opposes ‘Aid in Dying.’ Does It Matter?


From NYT

Ever since President Trump nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court, interested parties have been combing through his writings and appellate court rulings looking for signs and portents.

If he’s confirmed, how might Judge Gorsuch vote on affirmative action questions? Or challenges to Roe v. Wade?

But nobody has to do much head-scratching over his position on medical aid in dying. In 2006, the year he was appointed to the federal Court of Appeals in Denver, Princeton University Press published Judge Gorsuch’s book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.”

It leaves little room for doubt. Over 226 pages (in paperback), Judge Gorsuch pursues a legal and philosophical argument that “assisted suicide and euthanasia” should be outlawed because “all human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable” and “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

In Oregon, the first state to legalize aid in dying, the handful of patients using the law had been white and well educated, the author noted in an epilogue, leading him to wonder “whether assisted suicide is a matter of necessity or more of a lifestyle choice by people who have always tended to control their lives and now wish to control their death.” (Even the terminology is perilous. The phrase “assisted suicide,” now used mostly by opponents, tends to signal disapproval. For a while, supporters preferred “death with dignity.” At least “aid in dying” doesn’t imply that those who die without lethal prescriptions lack dignity.)

Judge Gorsuch’s position is creating anxiety in a movement that recently celebrated victories in several states and expressed optimism about winning more. “He has revealed tremendous personal hostility,” said Kathryn Tucker, executive director of the End of Life Liberty Project.

New Zealand: A trial is to be held for Susan Austen, charged with aiding a suicide


Susan Austen in the dock at the Wellington District Court.

MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ Susan Austen in the dock at the Wellington District Court.

From New Zealand

A Lower Hutt woman and pro-euthanasia campaigner has pleaded not guilty to aiding a suicide and importing a drug that can be used for euthanasia.

Susan Dale Austen, 65, has been charged with aiding Annemarie Niesje Treadwell to commit suicide between December 2015 and June 2016.

She also faces two charges of importing the narcotic sedative pentobarbitone.

Treadwell​ was a Wellington woman who supported Voluntary Euthanasia Society president Maryan Street’s petition in support of assisted dying.

The Catholic Church’s Cruel Response to Assisted Suicide in Canada…



Rational Suicide: Why Suicide Drugs Should Be Issued To The Elderly…

Suicide is a fundamental human right, not just a medical privilege conferred on the terminally ill. Euthanasia drugs should be issued to all those over 70 to use if they wish. Longevity and quality of life will increase.

For more than two decades Dr Philip Nitschke has been active in the Australian right to die movement, and has influenced the worldwide debate on voluntary euthanasia. In 1996, Dr Nitschke became the first physician in the world to administer a legal lethal voluntary injection to four terminally ill patients in 1996 under the Australia’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.

As Founder and Director of Exit International – a leading end of life rights advocacy and information non-profit – Dr Nitschke has written extensively in the area of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide including two books, Killing Me Softly: Voluntary Euthanasia and the Road to the Peaceful Pill published by Penguin and The Peaceful Pill eHandbook published by Exit International USA. His autobiography Damned if I Do with Peter Corris was published by Melbourne University Press in 2013.

Dr Nitschke holds a PhD in applied physics from Flinders University and is a graduate of Sydney Medical School.

Rational Suicide: Philip Nitschke launches ‘militant’ campaign for unrestricted adult access to euthanasia…




From The Guardian, Australia

Exit Action seeks to push far beyond access to voluntary euthanasia for terminally or incurably ill people… that will take ‘a militant pro-euthanasia position’ to try and force legislative change…

The voluntary euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke has launched a “militant” campaign to push for unrestricted adult access to a peaceful death.

Nitschke announced the launch of Exit Action on Sunday morning, describing the new organisation as a subgroup of Exit International, which campaigns, runs workshops and distributes information on voluntary euthanasia.

Exit Action said it would take “a militant pro-euthanasia position” to coordinate direct action strategies and force legislative change.

“Exit Action is critical of the ‘medical model’ that sees voluntary euthanasia as a privilege given to the very sick by the medical profession,” the organisation said.

“The standard approach for years has been to get the very sick to tell their stories of suffering to the public and politicians, in the hope that politicians might take pity and change the law.”

“Exit Action believes that a peaceful death, and access to the best euthanasia drugs, is a right of all competent adults, regardless of sickness or permission from the medical profession.”

Voluntary Exits advocate Philip Nitschke says Exit International members targeted by Australian police…


eNitschke said an 83-year-old woman living in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak had been visited twice by police in two weeks. The woman was first visited by by Australian federal police, who seized the imported euthanasia drug Nembutal.

From The Guardian

Nembutal is used both in animals and humans as a sedative, anticonvulsant and anaesthetic. But some people seek the powerful barbiturate online and overseas and illegally import it to assist in suicide. Importing barbiturates without permission is a criminal offence.

Last week, the woman was again visited by police, this time by three detectives from Victoria police, Nitschke said.

Nitschke said the detectives said they were unaware of the visit by AFP officers and that they told the woman they were concerned for her wellbeing.

A spokeswoman for the AFP said police had visited a residence in Victoria on 2 November regarding allegations of the attempted importation of a prohibited substance.

But she said the visit was not in response to any membership or support for any organisation.

“The AFP considers this matter finalised,” she said.

Nitschke said the woman had no plans to take her life but did want the ability to do so should her health deteriorate.

“She contacted me saying she’s feeling harassed and I can understand why,” he said.

He warned that seizures of the drug might lead the elderly to resort to other means to take their own lives.

An AFP spokesman said figures for the number of seizures of Nembutal would come from customs and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. But an immigration spokesman said people detected importing barbiturates illegally were referred to the AFP for any further action after the drugs had been seized.

Details on the number of seizures were not provided.

Last year Nitschke burned his medical registration and ended his career as a doctor so that he would be able to continue running euthanasia workshops, after the Medical Board of Australia determined he could not promote euthanasia while also working as a medical doctor and ordered that doing so would lead to him being deregistered.

Voluntary Exits: Why America’s Medical Aid in Dying Acts are Failing Seniors…



From Peaceful Pill Handbook

In recent weeks, the Dutch Ambassador to New Zealand, Robert Zaagman, has described NZ political debate about whether to introduce a voluntary euthanasia/ assisted suicide law as being akin to Dutch debate 20 years ago.

While an increasing number of US States are moving beyond the ‘should we’ – ‘shouldn’t we’ legislate on end of life choices, the model that States such as Colorado and Washington DC are envisaging is far from ideal. Indeed it could even be discriminatory and cruel.

In Exit’s opinion, the chosen model of law is so firmly predicated on the medical model of doctor-assistance that it disenfranchises the majority of older people who would seek control over their end of life.

Let’s explain:

Voluntary Exits: Catholic Church’s Cruel Response to Assisted Suicide in Canada…


From The Friendly Atheist

Religion always has a way of taking the least loving side when it comes to controversial issues.

Love between two people? If they’re gay, pastors will throw a hissy fit.

Women seeking an abortion after being raped? Some Christians argue they shouldn’t be allowed to have that option.

And when it comes to people who choose to end their lives on their own terms, an idea known as euthanasia, Catholics in Canada are adding insult to injury.

Let me back up for a second. Last year, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled — unanimously, I might add — that patients with severe medical problems could legally ask their doctors to help end their lives.

Physician-assisted death is now legal in Canada as long as you’re 18, a Canadian citizen, mentally competent, suffering from an incurable problem, and have no chance of getting better.

Voluntary Exits: Secular Coalition Celebrates Historic Step Forward for Death With Dignity in D.C…


From Secular Coalition

The Secular Coalition for America applauds the DC City Council for passing the Death with Dignity Act (B 21-38) 11-2 in an initial vote. The bill would establish a regulated process by which terminally ill patients can receive a prescription for drugs allowing them to hasten their deaths, if and when they choose.

“We are thrilled to see an overwhelming majority of the Council move this bill forward,” said Sarah Levin, Senior Legislative Representative of the Secular Coalition for America. “So many of us have been touched by this issue, including several Councilmembers who shared their personal stories today.”

The DC City Council is expected to hold a final reading of the bill on November 15, after which it will head to Mayor Bowser’s desk for signature. The Secular Coalition for America and its local chapter affiliate, the Secular Coalition for DC (SCDC), has lobbied in support of the Death with Dignity Act and provided testimony at the bill’s hearing before the Health and Humans Services Committee in July of 2015.

2015 poll found that 67 percent of District of Columbia residents support the right of terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to legally obtain medication to end their lives.

Voluntary Exits: The VSED Way to Speed Up Dying, Without Asking Permission…


Bonnie Reagan with a photo of her mother, Del Greenfield, in Ashland, Ore. Ms. Greenfield resorted to so-called VSED to die at age 91 in 2007.CreditEzra Marcos for The New York Times 

From NYT

Del Greenfield had endured repeated bouts of cancer over four decades, yet kept working as a peace activist in Portland, Ore., into her 80s. “She was a powerful force,” said her daughter, Bonnie Reagan.

But in 2007, Ms. Greenfield was struggling. She had been her husband’s caregiver until he died that year at 97, never telling her family she was feeling miserable herself. She’d lost much of her hearing. She required supplemental oxygen.

When she fell and broke an arm, “that was the final straw,” her daughter said. “She was a real doer, and she couldn’t function the way she wanted to. Life wasn’t joyful anymore.”

At 91, Ms. Greenfield told her family she was ready to die. She wanted a prescription for lethal drugs, and because she had active cancer, she might have obtained one under Oregon’s Death with Dignity statute for people with terminal illnesses.

Then her son-in-law, a family physician who had written such prescriptions for other patients, explained the somewhat involved process: oral and written requests, a waiting period, two physicians’ assent.

“I don’t have time for that,” Ms. Greenfield objected. “I’m just going to stop eating and drinking.”

In end-of-life circles, this option is called VSED (usually pronounced VEEsed), for voluntarily stopping eating and drinking. It causes death by dehydration, usually within seven to 14 days. To people with serious illnesses who want to hasten their deaths, a small but determined group, VSED can sound like a reasonable exit strategy.

Voluntary Exits: ‘I will choose my own time of departure’ — Family releases video of euthanasia advocate’s final moments…


vVideo here

For two years the family of euthanasia advocate Max Bromson has lived in fear of criminal prosecution.

Max died in July 2014 at age 66, but not of the bone cancer that made his last years so painful.

Instead, with a camera rolling, he died surrounded by his family after taking a fatal dose of euthanasia drug Nembutal.

His death sparked a police and coronial investigation into what role his family may have played in his death. Their cameras, computers and the controversial footage of his final moments were seized as evidence.

“The reason we filmed it was probably for legal reasons, to show that we had nothing to do with assisting him, that it was his choice,” Kerry Bromson, Max’s sister, told 7.30.

“I think we were naive, I think we all went in quite blind.

“We were doing it out of love for our brother, or father, it wasn’t a conscious thing about what would happen out of this.”

Now the family has been cleared of any wrongdoing and the footage can be seen publicly for the first time.

Voluntary Exits: Jules Hunter committed suicide after a long battle with MS and a rare condition that left her in constant agony…



From Sun Coast Daily, Australia

“I LOVE my life and wake each day in anticipation of what the day will bring.

“My life is good, so very very good.”

At the age of 46, Noosa woman Jules Hunter was positive she could overcome the constant, debilitating pain which had plagued her life since childhood.

Two weeks ago, just short of her 50th birthday, Jules finally gave in to the pain, said goodbye to family and friends and quietly took her own life.

“I’m excited with this decision knowing it’s time for my big sleep, to be free of pain and suffering,” she wrote in her final letter to Exit International, the controversial organisation fighting for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia.

The former “face” of the Queensland MS Society, Jules joined Exit early this year to learn more about her “end-of-life options”. It was the beginning of the end after years of pain which began when she was a teenager. The keen tennis and netball player couldn’t understand why she was in constant pain and suffered numbness, paralysis, vertigo, fatigue and muscle spasms. After years of tests and expert opinions, in 2004 she was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis.

Voluntary Exits: ‘Go Gentle’ Makes Voluntary Euthanasia Personal…


From Australia

Just weeks after launching a campaign to introduce voluntary euthanasia laws into Australia, Go Gentle Australia has launched a campaign to enlist public support and remind politicians of the unnecessary human suffering current laws cause.

Cummins & Partners devised the powerful campaign which allows Australians to submit a version of the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2016, replacing the word ‘Person’ with their own names and then use it to lobby their local politicians.

Shortly after the launch of Go Gentle’s push to have new laws introduced, Go Gentle co-director Andrew Denton told Mumbrella the advertising industry has a huge role to play in convincing parliamentarians to change the laws.

‘Be The Bill’ launched with South Australian, Kylie Monaghan, submitting the ‘Kylie Monaghan Voluntary Euthanasia Bill No. 1’. Each subsequent Bill submitted by people will numerically named to reflect growing public support for the bill.

Denton said the goal of the campaign is to reflect that the majority of Australians support the right for people to die in dignity without suffering.

“The majority of Australians support choice at the end of life, but despite this there is still no law,” Denton said.

Voluntary Exits: Assisted suicide and the death that caused a wedge between siblings…


Sean Davison and his mother Patricia in Kathmandu in 2001, to celebrate her 80th birthday.

 Sean Davison and his mother Patricia in Kathmandu in 2001, to celebrate her 80th birthday.


From Australia

“I will be informing the police that you murdered our mother.”

Sean Davison received the single-line email at 1pm on Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 19 months after the funeral.

The New Zealand man hadn’t seen his sister Mary since they had posed for a photograph together in front of the coffin, which they helped paint in the bright colours, black cats and beaches so loved by their mum.

Sean Davison and his mother Patricia at her home near Dunedin, in August 2006, two months before her death.

 Sean Davison and his mother Patricia at her home near Dunedin, in August 2006, two months before her death.

“I’ve had enough, this is not life,” Patricia, 85, had repeatedly told her four adult children from her sick bed in late 2006. Cancer had spread to her lungs, liver and brain.

Patricia – a former GP and psychiatrist who loved painting and dancing – was in constant pain and desperate to die. She jokingly asked to be drowned in Otago Harbour, which she could see from her home near Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island.

She stopped eating to hasten her demise but was still in a pitiful state 33 days later, on October 25. On her request, Davison, who had travelled from his home in Cape Town, South Africa to nurse her, crushed up the dozen morphine pills she had stockpiled.

In 2011, Sean Davison was sentenced to five months' home detention in Dunedin for helping his suffering mother to die.

In 2011, Sean Davison was sentenced to five months’ home detention in Dunedin for helping his suffering mother to die.
“You are a wonderful son,” she told her youngest child, after he helped her drink the lethal dose in a glass of water that she lacked the strength to grasp.

Voluntary Exits: The Life and Death of Gloria Taylor…



Voluntary Exits: David Brittain and wife Bridget, 86 and 84, did not want to lose their independence…



From The Mirror, Britain

A retired Royal Navy Commander and his devoted wife carried out a suicide pact because they didn’t want to go into care. David Brittain and wife Bridget, 86 and 84, took their own lives five years after becoming members of a suicide group called Exit. [Exit International link here.]

The couple, who had spent 65 years together, did not want to to lose their independence by being admitted to an old people’s home. An inquest heard Bridget – known as Biddy – used a ‘suicide bag’ to end her life before husband David did the same. Their daughters Susan Keeling, 57, and Judith Thompson, 59, gave a joint statement to the inquest. They said: ”Our parents were proud people, married over 60 years, and they depended and relied on each other. “Father hated it if mother went away for a night. They wanted to be together. They did not want to be apart, not live without each other.” Commenting on the successful suicide pact, they added: “We did not want them to do it. ”They had done what they said they would do. It was a massive shock. There is some consolation they are still together.”

The inquest heard David and Bridget joined Exit, which helps people plan suicides, in 2010. In the same year they bought the items which they would later used to take their own lives. The hearing was told the pensioners openly talked about suicide for five years but stopped mentioning it in the 18 months before their deaths. The exact trigger for their decision to take their lives is not known. But their elderly pet dog Tink had had to be put to sleep one week earlier. And David suffered a fall while attending a ballet performance but did not reveal this to his daughters. Their cleaner found them dead at their £750,000 home in Yelverton, Devon, last November. The coroner said they had put out ‘cushions to make themselves comfortable’.

On a dining room table police found documents about Exit, handwritten notes to their children and instructions on how to commit suicide. Their daughters told how the couple were “proud people” who wanted to remain together and not end up in residential care. Forensic pathologist Dr Deborah Cook found that Biddy died first closely followed by her husband. Daughter Susan, who attended the hearing on Friday, said her parents’ breakfast had only been ‘half laid’ out on the morning of their deaths. She speculated that her father had fallen and their mother could not lift him up and they then decided ‘this is it’. Coroner Mr Tomalin heard that two weeks before the pact Bridget received some “bad news healthwise but did not elaborate further”. He concluded they committed suicide saying: ”It would appear both were willing participants in the act that ended their lives.”

Voluntary Exits: An Inside Look At The World’s Most Liberal Euthanasia Law…



Patients Ponder Life and Death as California’s New ‘Right to Die’ Law Begins…



From NBC

Terminally ill California residents may now legally take medicine to end their lives, thanks to a new law that is now in effect.

Under the “End of Life Option Act,” California has become the fifth state in the nation to create a legal process for patients to obtain aid in dying.

And how the law fares in such a large and diverse state could shape whether this controversial option gains traction in the rest of the nation.

Advocates say people should have the right to decide whether they want “aid in dying,” while opponents argue patients could feel pressure to take their own lives.

‘I love my life’

The Big Sleep: The Rational Suicide of Melbourne Scientists Pat & Peter Shaw…



From Sydney Morning Herald (video and photos)

Scientists Pat and Peter Shaw died in a suicide pact in October. Here, their daughters reflect on their parents’ plan – and their remarkable lives.

For as long as the blue-eyed Shaw sisters can remember, they knew that their parents planned to one day take their own lives.

It was often a topic of conversation. Patricia and Peter Shaw would discuss with their three daughters their determination to avoid hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care units – any institution that would threaten their independence in old age.

Having watched siblings and elderly friends decline, Pat and Peter spoke of their desire to choose the time and manner of their deaths.

To this end, the couple, from the Melbourne bayside suburb of Brighton, became members of Exit International, the pro-euthanasia group run by Philip Nitschke that teaches people peaceful methods to end their own lives.


The family had a good line in black humour. The three sisters recall telephone conversations with their mother in which she would joke about the equipment their father had bought after attending Exit workshops. “He’s in the bedroom testing it,” Pat would quip.

The Peaceful Pill eHandbook (online): Assisted Suicide/Voluntary Euthanasia Information…


From EXIT International

Intended For Seniors and the Seriously Ill (and their families)

The Peaceful Pill eHandbook (PPeH) is offered on a 24 month subscription basis & is updated 6x per year…

The PPeH provides the best available assisted suicide/voluntary euthanasia information & employs Exit’s unique Reliability-Peacefulness Test to rank end-of-life strategies.

Benefits of the online eHandbook

  • 24 month subscription
  • subscriptions are generally created within hours of purchase
  • 6 updates are provided per 12 months with breaking news / developments
  • print a selection of pages or the whole book
  • watch videos & listen to audio
  • get membership of Exit’s online forums (on approval)
  • access the eHandbook on all devices inc iPads/ iPhones & Androids (no 3rd party software needed)
  • renewable subscription option at 50% discount

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Suicide & the Law
Chapter 3 – The Peaceful Pill
Chapter 4 – The Exit ‘Reliability-Peacefulness’ Test
Chapter 5 – Hypoxic Death & the Exit Bag
Chapter 6 – Carbon Monoxide
Chapter 7 – Cyanide
Chapter 8 – Detergent Death
Chapter 9 – Introduction to Drugs
Chapter 10 – Drug Options – Morphine
Chapter 11 – Drug Options – Propoxyphene
Chapter 12 – Drug Options – Amytriptyline
Chapter 13 – Drug Options – Chloroquine
Chapter 14 – Drug Options – Insulin
Chapter 15 – Drug Options – Chloral Hydrate
Chapter 16 – Drug Options – Nembutal
Chapter 17A – Availability of Nembutal
Chapter 17B – Nembutal Internet Scams
Chapter 18 – Testing & Storage of Nembutal
Chapter 19 – Administration of Nembutal
Chapter 20 – The Peaceful Pill Project
Chapter 21 – The Swiss Options
Chapter 22 – Final Considerations

The online version of the The Peaceful Pill eHandbook contains text, images & videos. An added benefit of reading online is that the text can be magnified for the sight-impaired & can be printed on demand.

Access is via a secure, live link with unique login & password. No software required.

Death In a Can: Australia’s Voluntary Euthanasia Loophole…


World Federation of Right To Die Societies