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FEN takes Death with Dignity case to the U.S. Supreme Court

The Board of Directors of Final Exit Network has authorized an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States from the corporation’s conviction in Minnesota on a charge of “assisting” in a “suicide.”

On Tuesday, March 14, the Supreme Court of Minnesota declined to review the Network’s 2015 conviction. The Network’s petition for review by the Supreme Court of the United States is required to be filed within 90 days of the Supreme Court of Minnesota’s denial of review. 

In May 2015, Final Exit Network, Inc. was convicted by a jury in Hastings, Minnesota of “assisting” in a “suicide” for having provided Exit Guide services to a woman who elected to terminate her extreme suffering. The Network was fined $30,000 and required to pay an additional $3,000 in restitution to the “victims,” the family of the deceased Network member, to cover her funeral expenses. 

The Network appealed the 2015 conviction to the intermediate Court of Appeals of Minnesota, which affirmed the conviction last December. The Supreme Court of Minnesota denied review of the Court of Appeals’ decision.

Even though it was established at the trial that the Network’s Exit Guides, in accordance with the Network’s practices and protocols, did not provide any physical assistance in the death, the Network was convicted merely for giving information to Doreen Dunn, 57, of Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Under the Minnesota courts’ interpretation of that state’s law against “assisting” in a “suicide,” the Network was convicted for giving the Apple Valley member the website address where she could purchase Derek Humphrey’s landmark bestseller, “Final Exit,” the Network’s namesake.

In all the Minnesota courts, the Network has asserted and will continue to assert in the Supreme Court of the United States that Final Exit Network’s giving of information to its members is a First Amendment-protected exercise of free speech, and therefore Minnesota cannot make it a crime.

“No other state in the country makes it a crime to give information about self-deliverance,” said the Network’s president, Janis Landis. “We find the Minnesota law intolerable and wrong and we will not give up the fight. This will be an expensive project and I call upon supporters of death with dignity and freedom of speech to contribute to our legal defense fund.”

Final Exit Network
Why celebrate January 2 and the month of January?

When you plan your New Year's resolutions, go ahead and plan conversations with your family and friends about your - and their - end-of-life choices. This is one of the most important and life-changing resolutions that you can make.

And now you can talk with your doctor about your end-of-life choices. Plan to call your doctor in January and make an appointment for this important discussion.

As an organization, Final Exit Network is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publishing of Final Exit, the book, which marked the beginning of the death with dignity movement within the United States

Turned down by commercial publishers, but still determined, Derek Humphriy self-published his ground-breaking book Final Exit. The book is in its third edition, has been published in many languages, is sold around the world, and has been on the New York Times bestseller list. 

Derek Humphry was also one of the original founders of the Hemlock Society and then later one of the original founders of Final Exit Network. It is with great appreciation that we are honored to celebrate the month of January, beginning January 2, with celebrations aimed at furthering everyone's discussion of their own personal final wishes. 

Talk with your family, talk with your friends - talk with your doctor. Initiate the discussion with your children and other family members. Ask them to consider their final wishes and discuss end-of-life issues with you - and their respective families. Discuss what your life has meant to you, to them, discuss the importance of a good death. The discussion alone opens many doors and may well become the impetus for many heartfelt family discussions.

​We hope to make the month of January a month-long opportunity for all of us to further this important discussion. Please return to this site for more information as our plans progress.
Explore death with dignity through film  movie list 
Film list by Faye Girsh, President, Hemlock Society of San Diego

Faye Girsh's Movie List
Hemlock of San Diego (with some additions!)

Movies that explore the many facets of the topic of death and dying. 

Me Before You
Me Before You is a 2016 British-American romantic drama film starring Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, and Steve Peacocke. Set in the UK, the film is shot in various historic locations around the country, including Pembroke Castle in Wales, and Chenies Manor House in Buckinghamshire, England. 

Okuribito (Departures)
A sensitive award-winning Japanese film about a young man who stumbled across a job working as a Japanese ritual mortician. Shunned by his wife and friends for working with death, they changed their minds when they realize the beauty and dignity he brings to the dead and the comfort he provides their loved ones.

Harold and Maude
1971 dark comedy film classic: Harold, obsessed with death, meets the 79-year-old carefree Maude. 

Honey (Miele)
An Italian film about a young woman who helps people die.
What happens when her guidelines are violated? How does this occupation affect her life? Are there other “Honeys” around? Should there be?

How to Die in Oregon
How terminally ill persons, their family, and friends consider whether and when to take a lethal medication overdose as allowed in Oregon since 1997 and soon to be available in California through the End of Life Option Act. Winner of Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. Presented by the Hemlock Society of San Diego.

Being Mortal
Based on the best-selling book by Dr. Atul Gawande, this documentary shows him meeting with colleagues and patients to discuss treatment choices at the end of life. Up-close and even better than the book! 

The Farewell Party (Israel)
Residents of a retirement community figure out how to help their fellow retirees who are suffering a bad death.

La Grande Bouffe (The Big Feast) 
 In this 1973 award-winning French-Italian film with Marcello Mastroianni, four gourmet friends rent a chateau. If you ever thought about how it would be to eat yourself to death, this will amuse and entertain you.

A Final Promise
A boy helps his brother die and makes a vow to himself to end his own life at 37— until he falls in love with a woman with ALS who needs his help. Based on the novel, How Angel's Die, by British musician, Guy Blews.

A beautiful woman, a handsome charming magician who is also a quadriplegic—in a beautiful house with wonderful music. But he wants to die —and the court denies him. A love story with a bittersweet ending.

The Sea Inside - Xavier Barden 
A Spanish film about a quadriplegic man who gets help to die from a Spanish RTD group.

One True Thing - Meryl Streep and Renee Zelwegger
Cancer patient dies from an overdose. Who did it?

Dying Wish
Documentary of a doctor dying by stopping eating and drinking

A Short Stay in Switzerland
Fictional account of a true story of a doctor going to Dignitas to die

The Suicide Plan
Frontline account about Final Exit Network and other RTD activities

The Barbarian Invasions
Canadian fictional account of a disagreeable man who dies peacefully

Whose Life Is It Anyway? - Richard Dreyfuss
(Classic movie of a quadriplegic who wants treatment removed)

Grace Quigley - Katherine Hepburn and Nick Nolte
(Old lady finds a reluctant hit man to help her older friends die)

Amour (shown at a movie theater)
An older man caring for his wife who has repeated strokes

Right of Way - Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart
An older couple want to die together despite daughter's protestations

Shaking Hands with Death
Speech given by British author, Terry Pratchett, about his dementia

You Don't Know Jack - Al Pacino and John Goodman
TV movie about Jack Kevorkian and his crusade to provide a peaceful death

Mademoiselle and the Doctor 
80 year old healthy woman wants to die

The Suicide Tourist 
Documentary about an ALS patient who goes to Dignitas
There many ways to donate to Final Exit Network

      Aside from sending us a check or credit card there are many ways you can donate to Final Exit Network. Many companies have matching grants and we are already receiving these from Fidelity, Prudential, and Pfizer. Just ask your company if they offer this wonderful benefit.

< Note these important details.

        You can also send us stock. One member just sent us $500 in stock to pay for her lifetime membership.Qualified Charitable Distribution is a feature of the tax code that allows a person to send money from an IRA distribution directly to a charity and deduct it from the adjusted gross income. Similarly, they can also contribute stock and get a deduction. There are rules to follow, so please check your eligibility if you are considering this option.  
        And of course, we hope you will remember Final Exit Network in your will. These bequests are very helpful. All you need to know is the Final Exit Network EIN number, which is #80-0119137, and our mailing address, P.O. Box 10071, Tallahassee, FL 32302.

Estate Gifts
  Please call 1-(866) 654-9156 to have a Network representative contact you about an estate gift for this very worthy cause.

Gifts and membership dues to Final Exit Network are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law as a 501(c)(3) organization.
Talk to your family, let them know your wishes - Ideas for getting started . . .
The Conversation Project click here
The Game "Gift of Grace" click here
National Healthcare Decisions Day click here
New to Final Exit Network? Please read.


Our Vision: 
"Any competent person unbearably suffering an intractable medical condition has the option to die legally and peacefully."

Our Mission: 
"Educate qualified individuals in practical, peaceful ways 
to end their lives, offer a compassionate bedside presence, 
and defend their right to choose."

learn more about 
our mission 
- End Page -
Suicide Crisis? Click here
Celebrate the Death with Dignity movement!
The producer of two important movies on end-of-life choice, Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider shares her passion for transforming public perception around end-of-life care.
Incident Report 167 I ZdoggMD
End Game 
A touching documentary (Netflix) comparing 
end-of-life choices, hospital vs. Zen hospice.  
Sundance film selection.  Click here. 

doctors facing the difficult conversations over death and how to clearly and compassionately have those conversations. Click here.
Current topic:  
    Deciding when suicide is a rational choice
    "When you strip away these desires, concerns can be raised. The incredible expense. The lingering, sometimes protracted, decline. The emotional and psychological strain on the dying and their family members.
    To discuss the myriad options and indeed challenges surrounding death, we welcome Ryan Nash, MD, MA (Director of The Ohio State University Center for Bioethics and Director of Division of Bioethics, Department of Biomedical Education and Anatomy), Robert Rivas (General Counsel for the Final Exit Network), and host Jo Ingles (Reporter at The Statehouse News Bureau)."
                          - Columbus Metropolitan Club
Ain't the Way to Die | Eminem/Rihanna Remixed |
It always seems too soon - until it's too late. Talk about your end of life wishes now with those you love.
Your Advance Directives - It always seems too soon - until it's too late. 
Doctor's Perspective: 
Don't Make us Guess
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