Florida State Senate Bans Suicide as Entertainment

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida State Senate Bans Suicide as Entertainment

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 24, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The Florida state Senate voted unanimously on Saturday to ban suicide as a form of entertainment. The vote comes in response to a St.Petersburg metal band that promised to allow a disabled fan to end his life as a means of supporting the legalization of assisted suicide.

The band Hell on Earth threatened to feature the suicide at a concert last year, but never went through with it.

Should the group ever allow the suicide to happen, it would be guilty of a third degree felony and subject to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. That’s according to HB 221, a bill that has cleared the state House and was approved 39-0 in the state Senate.

News of the possible performance prompted the St. Petersburg City Council to pass a resolution declaring that live performances can’t include or make a profit from a suicide. A local judge issued an injunction against the band performing the first show intended to include the suicide.

"While I still think it’s a publicity stunt, we still couldn’t sit idly by and let somebody lose their life,” council member Bill Foster said about the law.

The man who wants to die spoke with the host of a local radio program in October. 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.

Lead singer Billy Tourtelot denies that is a publicity stunt or a crime: "We have legal representation, and this is not illegal. I’m definitely not assisting in any suicide . . . What I’m doing may be immoral, but it’s not illegal."

The band is infamous for its ridiculous stage antics.

Past band performances have included sodomizing skinned calves and blending dead rats then having fans drink the concoction.