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Massachusetts bill would criminalize encouraging suicide

July 24, 2019

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make encouraging someone into taking their own life a crime.

The bill announced Tuesday is called Conrad’s Law after Conrad Roy, who at age 18 in 2014 was encouraged via phone calls and text messages by his then-girlfriend to kill himself. Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 15 months in prison.

The bill would establish a maximum of five years behind bars for anyone who “intentionally coerces or encourages” someone to kill or try to kill themselves.

It was introduced by Democratic Sen. Barry Finegold, of Andover, and Democratic Rep. Natalie Higgins, of Leominster.

The bill includes an exemption for physician-assisted suicide, which isn’t yet legal in Massachusetts.

Carter’s attorney argued that her texts were protected free speech.

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