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Candid Comments
October 23, 2012

Assisted Suicide and the Massachusetts Vote
by Craig Turner
fitzgerald griffin foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The voters of Massachusetts face a particularly critical choice on the November ballot: a measure to legalize assisted suicide.

A startling study cited in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed recently that three quarters of those whom Jack Kevorkian (a.k.a. “Dr. Death”) “helped” to die were not terminally ill. Only about a third of the 130+ patients who took their lives (many in Kevorkian’s old decrepit van) were even in pain. Some suffered only from hypochondria or depression.

Here is the fundamental question: What happens to a person — their consciousness or “soul” if you will — after they take their own life? Where do they go?
For more than 50 years,, doctors have been resuscitating their clinically dead patients and hearing startlingly similar stories about their journeys in the afterlife. About 18% of the 13 million Americans who have had a near-death experience describe their time being dead as hellish, distressing or frightening. A great many of these are after failed suicides.

George Ritchie, in his book on his near-death experience, Return from Tomorrow, told of seeing the fate of suicides after he died of an illness while in an army hospital. During the nine minutes when he was clinically dead, Ritchie, a private during World War II, saw four “realms” of souls, the most disturbing being the region of the suicides. He watched the distress of these souls as they tried to communicate with their loved ones on earth. Many were endeavoring to correct their terrible mistake and obtain forgiveness from loved ones. His guide, a luminous being who radiated light and love, told Ritchie, “They are suicides, chained to every consequence of their act.” Ritchie also observed a translucent glow of light surrounding the living which was completely lacking in those who committed suicide.

Dr. Barbara Rommer, a celebrated researcher on near-death experiences, claimed that at least half of those dying by their own hand seemed to fall into “an eternal void” absent of love and permeated with emptiness and loneliness. Those who were resuscitated from a suicide said they had been judged severely by a higher power in the spiritual realm and many described a “hell” experience.

Angie Fenimore’s autobiography Beyond the Darkness: My Journey to the Edge of Hell and Back, recounted that after her suicide, she entered a realm with “no light, no growth, no happiness” and no hope. God himself rebuked her severely for taking her own life. “But my life is so hard,” she replied, recounting that “[m]y thoughts were communicated so fast that they weren’t even completed before I absorbed his response: ‘You think that was hard? It is nothing compared to what awaits you if you take your life.’ ” [p. 102]

During an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, a woman told of her experience after taking her own life. She saw hellish demons who, she claimed, had come to take her soul. “I knew they were going to take me,” she told the startled audience, “and the only thing I knew how to do was to pray to God and say ‘Help me.’ ”

We need to re-examine the notion that “adequate safeguards” are all that is necessary to address the issue of assisted suicide. The real question is the ultimate fate of the dead.

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Candid Comments column is copyright © 2012 by Craig Turner and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.

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