Florida Senate Committee Approves Ban on Suicide for Entertainment

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Senate Committee Approves Ban on Suicide for Entertainment

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 18, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida state Senate committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would put a ban in place on committing suicide as a form of entertainment. The legislation comes as a response to a St. Petersburg, Florida hard rock band that planned to let a disabled fan kill himself on stage as a way to promote assisted suicide.

The suicide never happened and many regarded the hype as nothing more than a publicity stunt for the band Hell on Earth.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 398, sponsored by Sen. Les Miller (D-Tampa). Once the Criminal Justice Committee signs off on the bill, it will come up for a vote in the full Senate.

The legislation would prohibit advertising, performing, or selling tickets to a show in which someone will take their lives. The legislation contains an exception for "simulated" acts of self-murder, such as part of a play or movie.

Violators of the act would be subject to fines of $5,000 and up to three years in prison.

The publicity surrounding the planned suicide at an October show prompted the St. Petersburg city council to pass a ban on suicide as entertainment. A local judge eventually issued an injunction prohibiting the band from following through with their plan.

The man who wanted to die spoke with the host of a local radio program. The man, whose voice was digitally scrambled, said he has less than six months to live.

While he wouldn’t provide many specifics, he said he was on a respirator. He said he asked the band to allow him to commit suicide because it was a way to get publicity about the assisted suicide crusade.

"Assisted suicide must be made legal soon for others like me," said the man.

Some venues pulled the plug on the band’s shows.

Related web sites:
More information about SB 398 – https://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&Mode=Bills&SubMenu=1&Year=2004&billnum=398