Georgia Supreme Court Takes Up Assisted Suicide Law

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta/AP) —Georgia’s top court will consider a free-speech challenge to the state’s law against assisted suicide brought by four members of a suicide group charged with helping a cancer-stricken man kill himself.

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday will consider whether to overturn a Forsyth County judge’s decision that free speech isn’t limited by the law, which makes it a felony for anyone who publicly advertises to assist someone else in the act of suicide.

The four claimed it violated their free speech rights because instead of criminalizing suicide or assisted suicide, it bans people from publicly speaking about assisted suicide and then participating in the death.

According to Medicine Net, nearly 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year, with anywhere from 10 million to 20 million suicide attempts annually. About 30,000 people reportedly kill themselves each year in the United States.

But prosecutors argued the statute was drafted to discourage assisted suicide, even if that wasn’t spelled out in the law.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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