Roadside Controversy Looms With ‘Right to Die’ Billboards

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The organization Final Exit Network is putting up billboards to let you know that you have the “right to die.”

The controversial non-profit announced plans to put up billboards along highways in California, New Jersey and Florida, promoting what president Jerry Dincin calls “the last civil right of the 21st Century” — the right for a person to determine his or her own death in certain medical situations.

The billboards, which will feature the slogan “My Life, My Death, My Choice”, are reportedly funded in part by volunteer donations to FEN. According to FEN’s website, the group hopes to offer support and information for those who are ill and wrestling with the idea of ending their lives, rather than change any existing legislation. FEN operates on the central belief that all “mentally competent adults have the basic human right to end their lives when they suffer from a fatal or irreversible illness or intractable pain, when their quality of life is personally unacceptable.”

While FEN isn’t the only organization to support the right to die, they do provide counseling to those with illnesses that other groups might turn away, such as Alzheimer’s, emphysema and congestive heart failure.

Four members of the group, including former medical director, Dr. Lawrence Egbert, are currently awaiting trial in Georgia on charges of assisting suicide, à la Jack Kevorkian. Physician-assisted suicide is currently only legal in three states: Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Updated June 16, 2010: The language of this article has been updated to reflect the fact that FEN’s website characterizes their mission as one of providing information, rather than active medical assistance in ending a patient’s life.