In a 7-0 decision, written by Justice Hugh Thompson, The Court ruled that groups can use freedom of speech to inform people on how to commit suicide.
Four members Final Exit Network, Nicholas Sheridan, Thomas Goodwin, Claire Blehr, and Dr. Lawrence Egbert were charged in November 2009 with offering to assist in the commission of a suicide. The suicide method involved was inhalation of helium.
“In every case I was involved in, these people were absolutely miserable,” said Thomas Goodwin. “They were sick beyond comprehension, they had diseases some of which I had never heard of or imagine.”
During the suicide, Goodwin and Blehr held the hands of the suiciding person as he died.
“It was a wonderful thing, he was most thankful,” said Goodwin. “He squeezed our hand and smiled at us and he was thankful someone was there for him. He seemed so lonely and desolate. But, this is what he was going to do one way or another.”
Final Exit Network member, Dr. Lawrence Egbert, said the process to be approved to get help from the group is a lengthy process. Care is taken to make sure all other options to help these patients has been exhausted. FEN do not assist persons outside the USA.
Charges are expected to be dropped in a few weeks.
Goodwin says he has participated in 30 suicides. Once the charges are dropped he plans to continue his work with Final Exit Network.