France Outlaws Dissemination of Advice on Suicide
The French National Assembly passed a law Monday banning dissemination of advice on how to commit suicide.
The law is aimed at stopping sales of a controversial book, “Suicide: User’s Instructions,” which has sold 120,000 copies in France since 1982. The book lists a variety of painless and quick methods of killing onself.
Advocating suicide is to be punished with a fine of up to $37,000. If a young person kills himself after being given such information, the adviser can be sentenced to up to five years’ inprisonment.
In France, 135,000 people attempt suicides every year but do not succeed. But the number of people who do die is constantly rising, reportedly in part because of the book, and has reached 14,000 a year.
Spokesmen for the ruling parties said the law is intended only to protect young people. The opposition Socialist Party charged that the law could also be used to ban literary works discussing suicide.