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Assisted suicide debate reignites

Jack Kevorkian, 83, at a news conference March 24, 2008 in Southfield, Michigan.
Jack Kevorkian, 83, at a news conference March 24, 2008 in Southfield, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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A San Diego woman -- aged 91 -- was the target of an F-B-I raid last week. Sharlotte Hydorn is being investigated for selling "suicide kits." The product consists of a clear, plastic bag and medical-grade tubing. A customer wanting to end their life willfully and peacefully connects the tubing to a helium tank and fits the bag over their head. Asphyxiation happens within minutes. While directly assisting suicide is illegal in California, it's unclear whether selling these kits breaks the law. This coincides with a new Gallup poll out today calling doctor-assisted suicide the most morally divisive issue in America. Forty-five per cent say it's morally acceptable, while 48% think it's morally wrong. We're going to debate the legal aspects of what Hydorn has been doing. Is it illegal or is the FBI trying a chill tactic around this type of activity? If someone is going to take their own life, what kind of advice can they legally seek, and what is too far?

National Suicide Prevention LifeLine
1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Robert Rivas, General Counsel at Final Exit Network, a partner in the Tallahassee office of Sachs Sax Caplan

Wesley J. Smith, Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute; Consultant to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide; Special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture.