Georgia replaces assisted-suicide law that was tossed out

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 21, 2012

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Georgia has enacted legislation to outlaw physician-assisted suicide, replacing a law the state Supreme Court struck down in February on First Amendment grounds. The law makes it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for any licensed Georgia “health care provider” to knowingly and willfully assist in the commission of a suicide (link).

The law excludes from its definition of assisted suicide palliative care measures delivered with the sole intent of alleviating pain rather than causing death. With the law, enacted in May, Georgia joins more than two dozen other states with similar criminal statutes. Two states, Oregon and Washington, have laws authorizing doctor-aided death for terminally ill patients.

Georgia’s previous law was struck down because it barred the speech acts of advertising or offering assisted suicide services. The Supreme Court ruling led to the dismissal of charges against a physician and three other people accused of assisting in the suicide of a 58-year-old man with oral cancer.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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