Monday, May 29, 2023

International online company sells and promotes suicide.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health there are a number of ways to get help, including by calling Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566.
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I was doing a google search on a US state assisted suicide bill when the top search results included an ad stating: Shop help for suicide - Amazon Official Site.

The ad stated: Find deals on help for suicide in books on Amazon. Browse and discover thousands of products.

When I clicked on the link I was brought to a page selling how to suicide books and information from a variety of authors.

The easy access to how to suicide books and information is a serious concern considering the many people who are experience suicidal ideation. Many people temporily struggle with suicidal thoughts. These people need treatment and support to get through their struggle. Instead, Amazon is encouraging people to die by suicide, their site is similar to counseling people to suicide.

When Canada legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016 it did so by creating an exception in the Criminal Code to homicide (Section 222 of the Criminal Code) and assisting a suicide (Section 241 of the Criminal Code). Therefore it remains illegal for me or you or Amazon to assist a suicide.

Section 241 of Canada's Criminal Code states:

241 (1) Everyone is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years who, whether suicide ensues or not,

(a) counsels a person to die by suicide or abets a person in dying by suicide; or

(b) aids a person to die by suicide.

Based on my search result and the wording of Section 241 of the Criminal Code, it appears that Amazon is breaking Canadian law.

Neha Raju and Tom Parfett
On May 10, 2023; an Ontario man was charged with two counts of Aid and Abetting suicide. Neha Raju and Tom Parfett were among alleged 1200 people who received packages of a suicide substance allegedly from Kenneth Law.

In November 2022, Representative Lori Trahan, Democrat of Massachusetts, co-sponsor Katie Porter, Democrat of California, and Republicans Mike Carey of Ohio and Chris Stewart of Utah sponsored Bill H.R.9260, to stop online suicide assistance forums, etc.

An article by Gabriel J.X. Dance and Megan Twohey titled: Bill Outlawing Online Suicide Assistance Would Open Sites to Liability reports on a bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives amid rising concern over suicide rates among young people, and mounting evidence of online dangers. 

The article referred to the New York Times investigative report on a suicide website from December 2022:

The bill’s primary sponsor cited a Times investigation published last December into a website where members share detailed instructions on how to die and encourage one another to follow through with suicide plans. The investigation identified 45 deaths connected to the site and found hundreds of posts suggesting that the true toll was much higher.

Even as the trail of suicides connected to the site grows longer — The Times has since identified dozens more deaths, including several young teenagers — no one involved has faced legal consequences.
The article reports that Trahan, the bills sponsor, referred to the New York Times findings as “terrifying” and said that “it motivated us to act.”

Canada may need to amend Section 241 of the Criminal Code to define the term "everyone" to ensure that it prohibits online suicide websites and the online sale of suicide books, instructions and materials.

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