Some lawmakers in Georgia are taking swift, appropriate steps to undo a mistake they made in a 1994 bill that was designed to prevent assisted suicide.
They were correct in seeking to head off assisted suicides, such as those infamously performed by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. But the law was badly written. Instead of simply outlawing assisted suicide, it forbade people to advertise offers to help somebody commit suicide. Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court found that the law thus violated freedom of speech.
That ruling not only overturned the law, but it alarmingly halted the prosecution of some members of a "right-to-die" organization who had been charged in connection with helping a cancer patient kill himself in 2009.
That patient was making a recovery at the time of his death, according to Georgia authorities.
In light of the recent state Supreme Court ruling, the Georgia General Assembly is now considering better-written legislation to outlaw assisted suicide. Violators of the law would face up to 10 years in prison.
Suicide is a heartbreaking act, and it is assuredly not something that should in any direct or indirect way be encouraged in the law. Georgia lawmakers are well justified in acting quickly to make it clear that assisted suicide will not be tolerated in their state.