Final Exit’s former head says group didn’t assist suicides

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, May 12, 2015

HASTINGS — The former president of a national right-to-die group on trial for allegedly assisting in the suicide of a Minnesota woman testified Monday that members of Final Exit Network do not assist in suicides and the group agrees to support someone during a “self deliverance” only when that person is suffering from unbearable pain and meets other criteria.

Thomas Goodwin’s testimony came in a Minnesota trial for Final Exit Network Inc., which is charged with a felony count of assisting in the suicide of Doreen Dunn, a 57-year-old woman who had lived with chronic pain for about a decade. The group is also charged with interfering with a death scene.

Goodwin testified that “exit guides” would sometimes provide information on where someone could obtain equipment to commit suicide and even have a rehearsal to show someone how to properly set up the gear. But he said the group’s founders were aware of various assisted-suicide laws and “would push the envelope” but were careful to “stay within the law as we knew it.”

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