Senate Passes Bill Prohibiting Assisted Suicide

ATLANTA (March 27, 2012) –The Georgia Senate today passed House Bill 1114 by a vote of 48 to 1. Sponsored in the House by Rep. Setzler and carried in the Senate by Sen. William Ligon (R-Waverly), this legislation prohibits assisted suicide, making it a felony punishable by incarceration of up to 10 years.

“This legislation was crafted to prevent unnecessary deaths as a result of assisted suicide,” said Sen. Ligon. “The passage of HB 1114 was a positive step toward protecting the lives of Georgia’s citizens while also strengthening laws which govern end-of-life care or physician-assisted suicide.”

HB 1114 was drafted in response to the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the state’s assisted suicide law, which prohibits the advertisement of assisted suicide services.

According to this bill, it would be considered a felony punishable by law if an individual knows that someone intends to commit suicide and knowingly and willfully assists in that person’s suicide. The offense is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years. According to the bill’s provisions, the following individuals are exempt from this law, including:

  • Those dispensing palliative care with the intent to relieve pain but without the intent to cause death;
  • Those withholding treatment with the patient’s consent or other authorized consent;
  • Those dispensing medicine according to a living will or similar document, as long as mercy killing or the deliberate act to end life is not involved;
  • Those withholding treatment pursuant to a living will or similar document; and
  • Those advocating on behalf of a patient in accordance with one of the above exceptions.

Any health care provider convicted of committing this offense must notify the state licensing board and will have their licenses revoked.

Additionally, the act of assisted suicide is covered under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act as a racketeering activity.

HB 1114 will now travel to the Governor’s desk for final approval.

March 28, 2012

For Information Contact:
Natalie Dale, Director
Shawna Mercer,Sr. Communications Specialist