Arrests Revive Nation's Right-to-Die Debate

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The arrests of four members of the assisted suicide group known as Final Exit is reviving the nation's right-to-die debate.

The four are scheduled to be in court today.

And arguments will come down to whether their alleged actions were a so-called "self-deliverance" or something more sinister.

CBN News has more on the arrests that led to this renewed controversy.

Cameras were rolling when detectives arrested Dr. Lawrence Egbert in Maryland.

Investigators say the 81-year-old doctor helped a 58-year-old Georgia man kill himself as a member of the Final Exit network.

"The idea that Larry, or somebody like Larry would be doing something wrong, just doesn compute," said one friend.

Assisted with More Than 100 Suicides?

Friends can't understand. But police say Egbert's name is listed as a guide on the Final Exit's website. And for more than a year, they have been watching him and the group, which claims to have assisted with more than 100 suicides.

"We sent a GBI undercover agent to apply for membership in the Final Exit network," explained Georgia Bureau of Investigation's John Bankhead. "It was a sting operation, more or less."

That sting brought Georgia police to Maryland to a house just outside of Detroit, Michigan, and back to another house outside of Atlanta, where they continue to uncover troubling details about how the group would take a life, using a helium bag.

"They hold your hands down, so you cannot remove the bag from your head," Bankhead said.

In the sting operation, police arrested four members of the group in Maryland and Georgia. But investigators say the group operates out of at least eight states, including Florida, Montana, Missouri, Colorado, and Ohio.

The Push to Legalize Assisted Suicide

Dr. Mark Mostert is director of Regent University's Institute for the study of disability & bioethics.

"This is the most radical of the groups," he told CBN News.

Dr. Mostert says groups like Final Exit are more common than people realize and so is the push to legalize assisted suicide.

"If we want to know where this is going to end up, the Netherlands is a prime example," he pointed out. "In the Netherlands, assisted suicide is available on demand."

Georgia police say that is exactly what Final Exit offered their undercover officer. Their help to commit suicide without proof of any terminal illness.

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Efrem Graham

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