Showing posts with label Assisted Suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Assisted Suicide. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

This Is Where the ‘Right to Die’ Leads Us

By Alex Schadenberg*

Spiked published an in-depth article by Lauren Smith on January 15, 2024 titled: "Canada has revealed the horror of assisted dying." Smith tells the stories of the many people who have felt forced into  considering death by euthanasia.

Smith sets the stage for her article by calling Canada's euthanasia law a gruesome, state-sanctioned industry. Smith states:

There is nothing remotely civilized about Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) programme. Assisted dying in Canada was initially considered a last resort for terminally ill patients suffering from incurable pain. But in the space of just a few years, euthanasia has been made available to pretty much anyone who is struggling with an illness or a disability. Even Canadians facing homelessness and poverty are feeling compelled to end their lives, rather than ‘burden’ the authorities.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Files Brief to Massachusetts Supreme Court in the Kligler Assisted Suicide Case

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Directive, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, London, Ontario, Canada

In January 2020 the assisted suicide lobby appealed a  Massachusetts Superior court decision which found that there was no right to assisted suicide in Massachusetts. 

Recently the Massachusetts Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and yesterday, EPC-USA submitted a brief in the Massachusetts Supreme Court in this case. 

The case known as Kligler concerns Dr Roger Kligler, who is living with prostate cancer and seeking death by assisted suicide and Dr Alan Schoenberg, who is willing to prescribe lethal drugs for Kligler to die by assisted suicide.  Kligler who claimed to be terminally ill when launching the case in 2016 remains alive today.

Kligler and Schoenberg are arguing that doctors cannot be prosecuted for prescribing lethal drugs for assisted suicide to a competent terminally ill person under the Massachusetts state constitution.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Margaret Dore Speaks at Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Symposium, Speech Highlights


Click here to watch video
Winnipeg Canada, October 27, 2018
Introduction: 

Washington State and Oregon
I am a licensed attorney, or lawyer, whatever term you want to use, in Washington state, USA, where we do have legal assisted suicide. And in the fine print, our bill, and all of the Oregon-style bills, also allow euthanasia. And that's because there’s no requirement of self-administration.  Oregon's law doesn’t even use the word, "self-administer. " [The other side’s claim that it does, is] propaganda.

And Washington's law says “may” self-administer.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Roger Foley Lawsuit Challenges Canada's Euthanasia Law

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/denied-assisted-life-by-hospital-ontario-man-is-offered-death-instead-lawsuit

An Ontario hospital that wants to discharge a suicidal man with a crippling brain disease threatened to start charging him $1,800 a day, and suggested his other options included medically assisted death [non-voluntary euthanasia], according to a new lawsuit.

It also claims Canada’s new assisted dying laws are unconstitutional and should be struck down because they do not require doctors “to even try to help relieve intolerable suffering” before offering to kill a terminally ill patient.

The scandalous claims, as yet untested in court, are among the first major court challenges to the law, created in 2016 by the federal government in response to a Supreme Court ruling [Carter] that struck down the criminal ban on assisted suicide. ...

Monday, July 4, 2016

Expect More From Government

http://www.pentictonwesternnews.com/opinion/letters/385087351.html

Canada’s Parliament has now passed the euthanasia law known as Bill C-14.

From the first day Bill C-14 was introduced in the House of Commons, members from all parties began the work of attempting to make this sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Even in the final days of deliberation, when the bill bounced back and forth between the House and the Senate, a majority of members still held on to the hope that they could get the job done for Canadians and turn this ‘bad’ bill into ‘good’ law.

One last ditch attempt to clean up the mess introduced in Bill C-14 by the Liberal government was the proposal of a protective amendment that would prohibit a beneficiary from participating in a person’s assisted death, or, signing the person’s request for assisted death.

This was a proposal that protected people from a greedy beneficiary or an unscrupulous family member.

But wait, why try to make this bad bill better? Turns out, this protective amendment didn’t ‘fit the bill’ so it was passed without it — by a majority of Parliament. And, why should Parliament at this point, even try to make the legislation better?  Especially when the sweet smell of summer is calling back home and the steaks are sizzling away on the barbeque.

Friday, July 1, 2016

BCCLA Launching Legal Case to Expand Euthanasia "Eligibility"

http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2016/06/first-legal-case-to-expand-euthanasia.html

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The BC Civil Liberties Association has wasted no time in launching the first legal challenge to Canada's recently passed euthanasia and assisted suicide law.

Globe and Mail reporter Laura Stone informs us that the BC Civil Liberties Association is launching a court case to "strike down" as unconstitutional the provision in the euthanasia law that states a person's "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable" to qualify for death by lethal injection.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bill C-14, as enacted, media release

Canada's Bill, C-14, which legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia throughout Canada, can be viewed clicking here.

A media release, discussing the bill prior to final amendments, can be viewed by clicking here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Konrad Yakabuski: "Looking Back on the AIDS Crisis Makes Me Look at Assisted Dying Differently"

To read the entire article, click here

What has troubled me most as Canada moves to legalize physician-assisted death is the fatalism of those, including some senators, who argue for the broadest access possible to the “procedure.”

That’s fine for those who are certain in their choice of death. But who is ever really sure they want to die? Given the options available – intolerable physical or psychological pain, total dependence on others for care – it’s understandable that some would choose to hasten death. The Supreme Court correctly decided that consenting adults in this situation should be able to do so with medical help. But that shouldn’t mean the state should encourage it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Perils of Assisted Suicide

11:15 a.m. EDTOctober 2, 2014


This story illustrates a fundamental problem with legalizing assisted suicide. The assistant can have his or her own agenda to encourage someone to kill themselves.

Bradley D. Williams, Hamilton, Mont.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beware of Vultures: The Observations of a Montana State Senator

"[I]t seems odd that the top lobby spender in Montana this year was Compassion and Choices, a 'nonprofit' group that spent $160,356 advocating for legalization of assisted suicide."
By Senator Jennifer Fielder

As we wrangled through the budget this spring, the beautiful state capitol began to feel like a big, ripe carcass with a dark cloud of vultures circling about. 
Senator Jennifer Fielder

The magnitude of money in government attracts far more folks who want to be on the receiving end than it does those who just want fair and functional government. Until that ratio improves, it may be impossible to rein in unnecessary regulation and spending. 

Special interest groups spent over $6 million dollars on lobbyists to pressure Montana legislators during the 2013 session. Seems like a lot of money, until you compare it to the billions of taxpayer dollars at stake. Does the average taxpayer stand a chance against organized forces like that?

As your Senator one of my main duties is to sort out who wants your money, or a change in a law, and why. Getting to the bottom of it takes work. It would certainly help if well-intentioned citizens would do a little more research before clamoring onto any particular bandwagons as well.

We have to be careful not to be fooled by catchy slogans, shallow campaign propaganda, biased media reports, or plays on our emotions which, too often, conceal a multitude of hidden agendas. 

For example, it seems odd that the top lobby spender in Montana this year was Compassion and Choices, a “nonprofit” group that spent $160,356 advocating for legalization of assisted suicide. The second biggest spender was MEA-MFT, the teachers and public employees union who spent $120,319 pushing for state budget increases.

I earned a reputation for asking a lot of questions. I certainly didn’t take this job to rubber stamp anything. It's my duty to determine whether a proposal relates to an essential, necessary service of fair and functional government, or if it is motivated by piles of money to be gained from ill-advised government decisions.

You see, there is so much money in government that almost everything in government is about the money. The usual tactic is to disguise a ploy as “the humane thing to do”. . . .

Some groups work very hard to provide factual information about their issue. Others stoop to the lowest of lows to invoke heart wrenching emotions, twisted half-truths, or outright lies. You really have to look carefully for all the angles.

Assisted suicide is another issue that can be highly emotional. There are deep and valid concerns on both sides of this life and death debate. But I found myself wondering, “Where does all the lobby money come from?” If it really is about a few terminally ill people who might seek help ending their suffering, why was more money spent on promoting assisted suicide than any other issue in Montana?

Could it be that convincing an ill person to end their life early will help health insurance companies save a bundle on what would have been ongoing medical treatment? How much would the government gain if it stopped paying social security, Medicare, or Medicaid on thousands of people a few months early? How much financial relief would pension systems see? Why was the proposed law to legalize assisted suicide [SB 220] written so loosely? Would vulnerable old people be encouraged to end their life unnecessarily early by those seeking financial gain? 

When considering the financial aspects of assisted suicide, it is clear that millions, maybe billions of dollars, are intertwined with the issue being marketed as “Compassion and Choices”. Beware.

Public issues are not easy, and they are not always about money. But often times they are. If we want fair and functional government, we need to look deeper than most people are willing to look.. . .

* * *
Published as Communication from Your State Senator, "Beware of Vultures," by Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder, Sanders County Ledger, http://www.scledger.net, page 2, 6-4-13. Senator Fielder lives in Thompson Falls MT, USA representing Montana State Senate District 7.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Assisted Suicide's Dangerous Illusion of Control

http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/Johnston+Assisted+suicide+dangerous+illusion+control/7716999/story.html

By Will Johnston, MD

The daughters are beside themselves. One sat in my office recently, telling me about her father’s trips to the bank that are draining his savings. He gets angry when his daughters challenge him.

The money — thousands of dollars, slowly saved from a meagre pension and needed for his care — seems to be going to a recently acquired girlfriend some years younger than himself. He speaks almost no English. The situation was detected by chance when a daughter gave him a ride to the bank and saw his bank book.

Some time ago, I performed a competency assessment on a socially isolated older person who had been placed in a nursing home. An unrelated neighbour had listed the person’s home for sale and was receiving inquiries before a relative became aware.

On another occasion, an older woman had adequate resources to stay in her attractive home and employ a live-in caregiver. A family member, an heir and beneficiary, arranged to have her met at her door by an ambulance crew with a gurney. She was told that if she did not co-operate, the police would be called. She submitted and was transported to a dingy nursing home that she described as a prison. Her home was sold.

A colleague recalls being on duty in an emergency room several years ago when an older bachelor came in desperately ill and confused, accompanied by his niece and nephew.

“He’s had a good life. He wouldn’t want any treatment,” his only relatives (and presumably heirs) attested. With ordinary care and rehydration, the older man walked out of hospital a week later.

Each of these scenarios is different, and none of them grace a research paper, but all of them are the real face of elder abuse. I could list 10 more from my own experience. Government of Canada policy recognizes the epidemic of elder abuse and the unusual difficulty of detecting it, often because the victim resists the revelation of abuse.

I routinely see people induced to do things and accept arrangements that are contrary to their own interests. People can be surprisingly naive.

High profile assisted suicide cases might at first seem to be about another kind of person, a sophisticated and clear-minded sort, immune to undue influence. I suggest that this presumption is also naive.

We all take our cues from those around us. It only takes a few words to promote suicide. If the law is changed, an obligation to mention the legal fact of assisted suicide will be created. Some patients will experience even the most perfunctory acknowledgment of assisted suicide as an inducement to it.
If state-sanctioned suicide becomes part of the atmosphere in our hospitals, a presumption in that direction will be created. I predict the same erosion of medical diligence that many of us on the front lines have already watched happen when caregivers choose to see a patient as having finished all useful life. How much more will this be the case when the patient’s present fear and loss of hope feed smoothly into an official assisted-suicide regime?

Some people would throw away months or years of life, and some would miss good medical care or medical advances they would have wanted to enjoy.

Consider the case of Jeanette Hall, who wanted to use Oregon’s assisted suicide law and is grateful, 12 years later, that her doctor directed her toward treatment rather than suicide.
One of Dr. Ken Stevens’ Oregonian patients was not so lucky — part way into his cancer treatment, he became despondent and was given suicide pills by another doctor.

I know someone, happy to be alive, who had alarming symptoms and a clear diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease more than a decade ago. The symptoms inexplicably resolved. Huntington’s disease, a factor in a recent high-profile suicide in Toronto, moved closer to a treatment recently in a stem cell experiment.

If a legal assisted suicide offer is always dangling, variations in the competence and diligence of doctors create arbitrary forces that move choice and control to others, not the patient.

When you or your loved one goes to the hospital, you need to be able to trust that an assisted-suicide-minded doctor or nurse will not be steering you or them toward death. People can be offered the illusion of control and autonomy when the choices are really being shaped by others.

When empowered medical personnel — and right-to-die activists — choose their own opinions about your quality of life, and have been given constitutional protection to counsel, facilitate and steer you toward suicide, you and your loved ones will not be safe.

The choices created by legal assisted suicide may end up being someone else’s, not yours. The speculative legal changes being offered are dangerous and irresponsible. Parliament rejected them firmly two years ago. We will all be safer if our courts do the same.

Dr. Will Johnston is chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of BC
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Johnston+Assisted+suicide+dangerous+illusion+control/7716999/story.html#ixzz2GZkbdvWG

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Assisted suicide opens the door to grave abuses of elderly

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1287933--assisted-suicide-opens-the-door-to-grave-abuses-of-elderly

Derek Miedema, November 14, 2012

Canadians can watch disturbing videos on a government website warning about elder abuse — an elderly man is pushed to move faster, an adult child steals money from a grandmother’s wallet. 

However, just as some still turn a blind eye to the fact that elder abuse is happening, proponents of assisted suicide refuse to connect the dots between legalized assisted suicide and the potential for serious abuse.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Assisted suicide too risky, allowing it demeans value of life, federal gov't says

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Assisted+suicide+risky+allowing+demeans+value+life+federal+says/7447066/story.html

The Canadian Press October 25, 2012 12:30 PM
 
VANCOUVER - The federal government says allowing doctor-assisted suicide demeans the value of life and puts vulnerable people at risk in moments of weakness.

Ottawa has filed its arguments in an appeal of a B.C. decision that struck down the prohibition on doctor-assisted suicide, arguing the trial judge was wrong to conclude the law is unconstitutional.

In documents filed with the B.C. Court of Appeal, the government says the law reflects a reasonable belief that allowing assisted suicide would put vulnerable people at risk of being coerced or even forced to end their lives.

The government says the law reflects Parliament's desire to discourage and prevent suicide in all cases, and it should be up to lawmakers, not the courts, to decide if that needs to change.

Ottawa argues the Supreme Court of Canada's 1993 decision upholding the law in a case involving Sue Rodriguez was final.

The B.C. case was launched by several plaintiffs, including Gloria Taylor, who won a constitutional exemption from the law but died earlier this month without resorting to assisted suicide.
Read more:
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Assisted+suicide+risky+allowing+demeans+value+life+federal+says/7447066/story.html#ixzz2AM32CGOR

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Legal Assisted Suicide Can Cause Anguish

By Margaret Dore

I am a lawyer in Washington State USA where assisted suicide is legal.  I am also President of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide.

In 2011, a study was released in Switzerland where assisted-suicide is legal.  The study found that approximately 1 out of 5 family members or friends who were present at an assisted suicide were traumatized.  They "experienced full or sub-sthreshold [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] related to the loss of a close person through assisted suicide."[1]

This is consistent with what I have observed with clients whose parents have participated in the Washington/Oregon death with dignity acts.  With one client, the doctor had suggested assisted-suicide to the parent.  After that, one branch of the family wanted the parent to use the lethal dose, while the other did not.  The parent spent much of his final days struggling over whether or not to kill himself.  This was instead of making the best of the time that he had left.  My client was also traumatized.  In that case, the parent died a natural death.

With another case, it's unclear that the assisted-suicide death was voluntary.  My client lives with that memory.


Legal assisted suicide is sold as a peaceful and loving death.  It may be anything but.

* * *

[1] B. Wagner, J. Muller, A. Maercker, "Death by request in Switzerland: Posttraumatic stress disorder and complicated grief after witnessing assisted suicide," European Psychiatry 27 (2012) 542-546, available at http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/family-members-traumatized-eur-psych-2012.pdf

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Study: Assisted suicide helpers distressed

http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/wrsnews/study-assisted-suicide-helpers-distressed.shtml?32735

Thursday, October 4, 2012

One in four people who accompany someone to commit assisted suicide suffer massive psychological distress, according to a new study by the University of Zurich.

Researchers at the university spoke to 85 people who went with a family member or close friend to an EXIT euthanasia clinic.

A quarter suffered from post traumatic stress disorder while 16 percent had depression. Five percent were found to have long-term grief.

The interviews were carried out one to two years after the assisted death of loved ones.

The results state that problems can surface 14 to 24 months later and that a death not from natural causes was a heavy burden for those who supported the deceased.

Although the research didn’t include a direct comparison with the effects of a natural death on a loved one, the study was compared to others.

This showed the researchers that post traumatic stress disorder was more common for people close to an assisted suicide case rather than a natural death.

The results have been published in the October issue of the journal European Psychiatry.

Abbotsford man convicted of manslaughter now accused of steering woman to suicide

http://www.abbotsfordtimes.com/news/Abbotsford+convicted+manslaughter+accused+steering+woman+suicide/7328032/story.html
By Rochelle Baker, Abbotsford Times October 2, 2012 

Abbotsford resident Kenneth Carr, formerly convicted in manslaughter in the death of a teenage girl who was found naked and strangled along train tracks in 1997, has been charged with counselling a person to commit suicide.

An Abbotsford man formerly convicted of manslaughter in the death of a teenage girl is now charged with counselling a person to commit suicide.

Kenneth William Carr, 53, was charged after a woman in her 40s with a history of depression showed up with a relative at the Abbotsford Police station on Thursday with ligature marks around her neck, said Const. Ian MacDonald.

"The family member observed the injuries on the woman's neck, and the victim told her a relatively new acquaintance had given her advice on how to commit suicide," said MacDonald.

"Bear in mind, this a woman who suffers from depression."

As part of the ensuing investigation, a search warrant was executed at Carr's home. Evidence gathered there suggests this may not have been the only time the offender has allegedly engaged in counselling or abetting a suicide, said MacDonald.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

UK: Legal Challenge to Euthanasia Law Rejected


Below is a media release from the Judiciary of England and Wales regarding today's decision to reject a legal challenge to a legal prohibition on euthanasia.  "[A]ny change to the law must be a matter for Parliament to decide."  To read the original print version, click here.


Tony Nicklinson v Ministry of Justice
AM v Director of Public Prosecutions and others
High Court (Administrative Court)
16 August 2012

SUMMARY TO ASSIST THE MEDIA

The High Court (Lord Justice Toulson, Mr Justice Royce and Mrs Justice Macur) has today rejected challenges to the legal ban on voluntary euthanasia, and to the policy of the Director of Public Prosecutions in cases of assisted dying, brought by two men suffering from “locked in syndrome”.

The Court recognised that the cases raise profoundly difficult ethical, social and legal issues, but it judged that any change to the law must be a matter for Parliament to decide.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oregon & Washington: Users of Assisted Suicide are Seniors with Money

By Margaret Dore, Esq.
Updated August 14, 2012
Originally published on
 Mass Against Assisted Suicide

This week, a New York Times article expressed "surprise" regarding the users of assisted suicide:  "They are overwhelmingly white, well educated and financially comfortable."[1]  They are also age 65 and older.[2]  In other words, users are older people with money, which would be the middle class and above, a group disproportionately at risk of financial abuse.[3]

The Oregon and Washington assisted suicide acts, and the similar Massachusetts proposal, do not protect users from this abuse. Indeed, the terms of these acts encourage financial abuse.  These acts allow heirs and other persons who will benefit from an elder's death to actively participate in the lethal dose request.[4]  There is also no oversight when the lethal dose is administered, not even a witness is required.[5]  This creates the opportunity for an heir, or someone else who will benefit from the person's death, to administer the lethal dose to that person without his consent.  Even if he struggled, who would know?


Under the Washington act and the Massachusetts' proposal, the death certificate is required to reflect a natural death.[6]  In Oregon, a natural death is listed by custom.[7]  A concerned nephew, learning that his aunt has suddenly died and that she had a new will favoring a ne'er do will son, will thereby be mislead as to what actually happened.

This does not mean that all deaths under the Oregon and Washington acts are  abusive or without consent.  What it means is that these laws, and the similar Massachusetts proposal, invite abuse and have a distinct lack of transparency.  In Oregon, not even law enforcement is allowed to access state-collected information about these deaths.[8]  Even if the person struggled, who would know?

In the New York Times article, a description of the patient's wife indicates her discomfort with her husband's decision:  "[S]he does not want the pills in the house, and he agrees.  'It just feels so negative," she said."[9]

For more information about specific problems with the Massachusetts' proposal, click here and here.  For a "fact check" on the proposal, click here.

* * *

[1]  Katie Hafner, "In Ill Doctor, a Surprise Reflection of Who Picks Assisted Suicide," New York Times, August 11, 2012.
[2]  See e.g., the most current official report from Oregon, "Oregon Death with Dignity Act--2011" ("Of the 71 DWDA deaths during 2011, most (69.0%) were aged 65 years or older; the median age was 70 years"), available athttp://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Documents/year14.pdf
[3]  The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse, "Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America's Elders," June 2011 (a follow up to MetLife's 2009 "Broken Trust: Elders, Family, and Finances"), available athttp://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/2011/mmi-elder-financial-abuse.pdf
.
[4]  See Memo to Joint Judiciary Committee (regarding Bill H.3884, now ballot measure No. 2), Section III.A.2. ("Someone else is allowed to speak for the patient") and 
and Section II.C. ("One of the [two] witnesses [on the lethal dose request form] is allowed to be an heir who will benefit financially from the patient's death"), available at http://www.massagainstassistedsuicide.org/p/memo-to-joint-judiciary-committee.html
[5]  See above memo at Section III.A.1("No witnesses at the death").  See also entire proposed Massachusetts Act at http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/ma-initiative.pdf
[6]  See proposed Massachusetts Act at Section 4 (2) ("The attending physician may sign the patient's death certificate which shall list the underlying terminal disease as the cause of death").  Washington's act, RCW 70.245.040(2) has this same language. 
[7]  See e.g., Charles Bentz, "Oregon Doctor's Letter to Massachusetts Medical Society," posted November 28, 2011 ("His death certificate listed the cause of death as melanoma.  The public record is not accurate. My depressed patient did not die from his cancer, but at the hands of a once-trusted colleague."), available at http://www.massagainstassistedsuicide.org/2011/11/oregon-doctors-letter-to-massachusetts.html#more 
[8]  See E-mail from Alicia A. Parker, Mortality Research Analyst, Center for Health Statistics, Oregon Health Authority, January 4, 2012 ("We have been contacted by law enforcement and legal representatives in the past, but
have not provided identfying information of any type"), available at http://epcdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/alicia-a-parker.pdf
[9]  Katie Hafer, above at note 1.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Suicide Predator Conviction Upheld!

Regarding Canadian Nadia Kajouji of Brampton, Ontario.


http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/07/17/news/melchert-dinkel-aiding-suicide-conviction/

Appeals Court upholds nurse's aiding suicide conviction

by Amy Forliti, Associated Press 

July 17, 2012

[To for more information, charging document click here]
[To link to Nadia's Light, click here]

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed the convictions of a former nurse who scanned online chat rooms for suicidal people then, feigning compassion, gave a British man and a young woman in Canada instructions on how to kill themselves. 



William Melchert-Dinkel, 49, of Faribault, acknowledged that what he did was morally wrong but argued he had merely exercised his right to free speech and that the Minnesota law used to convict him in 2011 of aiding suicide was unconstitutional. 

The appeals court disagreed, saying the First Amendment does not bar the state from prosecuting someone for "instructing (suicidal people on) how to kill themselves and coaxing them to do so." 

Melchert-Dinkel's attorney, Terry Watkins, was not immediately available for comment. 

Court documents show Melchert-Dinkel searched online for depressed people then, posing as a female nurse, offered step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves. 

Melchert-Dinkel was convicted last year of two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of 32-year-old Mark Drybrough, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008. 

He was sentenced to more than six years in prison but the terms of his parole meant he would only be imprisoned for about a year. His sentence was postponed pending his appeal, but at the time of sentencing, he was told that if his convictions were upheld, he'd have seven days to report to jail. 

In arguing to overturn the conviction, Watkins said his client didn't talk anyone into suicide but instead offered emotional support to two people who had already decided to take their lives. 

Assistant Rice County Attorney Benjamin Bejar had argued that Melchert-Dinkel wasn't advocating suicide in general, but had a targeted plan to lure people to kill themselves. Prosecutors have said he convinced his victims to do something they might not have done without him. 

Bejar said Tuesday that prosecutors were pleased with the decision. 

In a statement read at his sentencing last year, Melchert-Dinkel said he was sorry for his role in the suicides and that he realized he had rejected a unique opportunity to talk his victims out of killing themselves. 

Melchert-Dinkel's nursing license was revoked in 2009