The American Medical News has an article out today about the Georgia Supreme Court decision that ruled the state’s assisted suicide law unconstitutional. (We referred to the legislation as “half-assed.”) The decision has the immediate effect of negating the charges against members of the Final Exit Network (FEN). The account is pretty straightforward and is pretty good at referring what the group says they do instead of reporting their claims as fact. I have only on substantive issue with the account – when referring to John Celmer, who was “helped” by FEN in his suicide, the reporters say that he “had oral cancer” but don’t report that the autopsy found him to be cancer-free.
I shouldn’t complain, though. Reporter Alicia Gallegos interviewed Georgia disability activist and organizer Eleanor Smith for her reaction:
Not Dead Yet, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities, called on the Georgia General Assembly to enact a new assisted-suicide law that can withstand constitutional muster.
“It’s important to rewrite the law so that it becomes very clear that assisted suicide is not legal in Georgia,” said Eleanor Smith, director of Not Dead Yet’s Georgia chapter. “We were very shocked and surprised to learn that our [prior] Georgia law could be read in a way that assisted suicide could be legal. This was absolutely news to us and to a lot of people.”
State legislators have expressed interest in rewriting the law before the end of the remaining session. Majority Whip Edward Lindsey and Sen. Bill Hamrick, both Republicans, have proposed revising the law.
We all hope that Georgia legislators keep this as a priority and do a better job on a bill than they did the last time. –Stephen Drake