ST PAUL, Minn., April 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Faith is losing her mind. And she knows it. Faith has a degenerative brain disease. Her doctor has spelled out the brutal effects of it, and she is making plans for her future. Faith (who prefers to use only her first name) is a resident of Minnesota, and in Minnesota, she cannot even talk to anyone about the option of choosing her own death.
On May 3, 2016, due to a Minnesota court's ruling last August, Faith will be forced to travel to another state to learn from Final Exit Network about peaceful self-deliverance. This is a seemingly unthinkable option, but Faith wants to learn about it because it may be the best way for her to die with dignity. Furthermore, she strongly feels she has a right to know about this option.
For now, the nationwide death-with-dignity organization Final Exit Network is banned from "speech" that will enable Faith to learn about the process for "self-deliverance" that may help her gain some control over what is left of her life. The organization is muzzled by an interpretation of a law unique to Minnesota.
From Faith's point of view, this process may allow her to end an unknown and frightening deterioration of one mental faculty at a time. Instead of the unknown and horrifying death she anticipates, Faith believes she will learn how she could gain some control over the outcome of her disease, something the medical community cannot give her.
Like so many other Americans, a slow but relentless neurological disease is creeping into Faith's brain, dulling her memory, replacing words for her as she speaks. Eventually, it will rob her of everything she values in her life. Many, many Americans suffer from various neurological diseases that rob them of their lives. Long before their bodies physically decline, their minds are gone.
As a 'person,' Faith will slowly fade away.
As Faith researched her options, she found that she might prefer a death with dignity rather than ending in the hands of strangers -- a destitute ward of the state. She fears languishing for years in an institution, locked in the Alzheimer's unit in a facility she does not recognize, tended by nurses and doctors she does not know.
In Minnesota, Final Exit Network -- the one group that could talk with her about peaceful self-deliverance -- has been banned by the Minnesota courts from even talking about it to its members. In August 2015, Final Exit Network was "convicted of speech that enabled a person to commit suicide." The Network was fined $33,000 for "assisting in a suicide" by giving an Apple Valley woman the information she used to end her life. After 10 years of "intolerable suffering," Dorreen Dunn chose to die using the information she was given by volunteers of the Network.
The same information, however, is in books readily available in bookstores and libraries in Minnesota and on the Web.
On April 4, 2016, the Network filed an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. For now, Network volunteers risk a 15-year jail sentence if they come to Minnesota to educate Faith about how she can end her life if she so chooses.
Final Exit Network's goals are that "no one should have to die a traumatic death and no one should have to die alone," but in Minnesota, the organization is all but banned from providing the comfort and compassionate presence its members want at the end of their lives. The Network has 3,000 members across the U.S. and nearly 80 members in Minnesota. A nationwide network of trained volunteer exit guides provides services in all 50 states.
Given this legal situation, FEN is unable to inform any of its Minnesota members who have requested similar education and counseling. In early May, Faith will leave Minnesota, accompanied by a Network Exit Guide, so they both can exercise their freedom of speech.
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SOURCE Final Exit Network