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Sun, Sep 20, 3pm: Unconstitutional Restrictions on Your Right to Know About Assisted Suicide

Updated September 22, 2015: Recordings are now available if you missed the event.

 An apartment in Zurich, which belongs to Dignitas, an organisation that helps terminally ill people in assisted dying. Photograph: Gaetan Bally/Corbis
An apartment in Zurich, which belongs to Dignitas, an organisation that helps terminally ill people in assisted dying. Photograph: Gaetan Bally/Corbis

On Sunday, September 20, at 3 pm, Robert Rivas of Final Exit Network is scheduled to make a presentation entitled, “Unconstitutional Restrictions on Your Right to Know About Assisted Suicide.” Mr. Rivas serves as Final Exit Network’s legal counsel, and he argued successfully before the Georgia Supreme Court that Georgia’s assisted suicide law violated its constitution.

The presentation includes a brief survey of the laws governing the right to death with dignity and assisted “suicide,” explaining the historical reasons why the opposition to assisted “suicide” is based on a religious prohibition, only recently given a pseudo-secular justification. In recent years, the opposition to assisted “suicide” has begun trying to prohibit the right to provide information and education about methods of “suicide.” In Minnesota, Final Exit Network has been convicted this year of “assisting in a suicide” in a case where there was no evidence of “assisting,” and the conviction was based solely on Final Exit Network providing information and education to a competent adult, with no quality of life and no hope for improvement, about how to successfully, painlessly, and quickly terminate her own suffering.

The location of the meeting is the Columbia County Library at 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd, Evans, GA. The meeting room is on the basement floor, and it is accessible by wheelchair. Admission is free and open to the public.

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Robert Rivas is a member of Sachs Sax & Caplan, based in the Tallahassee office of the Palm Beach County-based firm.  Before entering law school, Mr. Rivas was a reporter for The Miami Herald, a Peace Corps volunteer, a foreign correspondent in Central America and the Caribbean, and the deputy metro editor of The Palm Beach Post.  He entered Nova law school in 1988 and graduated summa cum laude in 1991.  As a lawyer, Mr. Rivas has concentrated in First Amendment-related law for media and non-media, general civil litigation and appeals.

He first became involved in the Death-With-Dignity movement in 1996 as counsel in a joint ACLU-Hemlock Society project that led to a landmark physician-aid-in-dying case, McIver v. Krischer. More recently, as general counsel to Final Exit Network, he has overseen the defense of the Network and its Exit Guides in civil and criminal cases in Arizona, Georgia, and Minnesota, along with spinoff investigations all across the country.  He has engaged and overseen at least 24 other attorneys in the process.

He has secured rulings from the supreme courts of Georgia and Minnesota that their state laws against “assisting in a suicide” were unconstitutional under the First Amendment


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