Georgia Supreme Court Strikes Assisted-Suicide Law on Free Speech Grounds
Posted Feb 6, 2012 4:38 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward
The Georgia Supreme Court today struck down a state law that restricted advertising assisted suicides, on the basis that the regulation violates free speech rights.
Suicide is not expressly forbidden in Georgia, the Associated Press reports. The law in question, adopted in 1994, makes it a felony to advertise assisted suicide, or present oneself as someone who will “intentionally and actively assist another person in the commission of suicide and commits any overt act to further that purpose.”
Today’s opinion found that lawmakers could have banned all assisted suicides without restricting free speech or tried to prohibit all offers of assisted suicide.
“The state has failed to provide any explanation or evidence as to why a public advertisement or offer to assist in an otherwise legal activity is sufficiently problematic to justify an intrusion on protected speech rights,” the court wrote.