Current Status Bill Number:
4419Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19980115Primary Sponsor: HaskinsAll Sponsors: Haskins, Campsen, Altman, Barrett, Sharpe, Seithel, Simrill, F. Smith, Davenport, Edge, Allison, Tripp, Walker, Koon, Rice, Robinson, Loftis, Leach, Sandifer, Littlejohn, Keegan, Young, Vaughn, Jordan, Harvin, Wilkins, Easterday, HamiltonDrafted Document Number: gjk\21017sd.98Companion Bill Number: 758Residing Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 25 HJSubject: Suicide, felony crime of assisting created; penalties, Crimes and Offenses, Medical
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 19980211 Co-Sponsor added (Rule 5.2) by Rep. Hamilton House 19980121 Co-Sponsor added (Rule 5.2) by Rep. Easterday House 19980115 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 16-3-1090 SO AS TO CREATE THE FELONY CRIME OF ASSISTING SUICIDE, TO PROVIDE PENALTIES, TO PROVIDE FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, TO PROVIDE A CIVIL CAUSE OF ACTION, TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY'S FEES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 16-3-1090. (A) As used in this section:
(1) 'Licensed health care professional' means a physician, surgeon, podiatrist, osteopath, osteopathic physician, osteopathic surgeon, physician assistant, nurse, dentist, or pharmacist.
(2) 'Suicide' means the act or instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally.
(B) It is unlawful for a person to assist another person in committing suicide. A person assists another person in committing suicide if the person:
(1) by force or duress intentionally causes the other person to commit or to attempt to commit suicide; or
(2) has knowledge that the other person intends to commit or attempt to commit suicide and intentionally:
(a) provides the physical means by which the other person commits or attempts to commit suicide; or
(b) participates in a physical act by which the other person commits or attempts to commit suicide.
(C) A licensed health care professional is not in violation of subsection (B) if the licensed health care professional:
(1) administers, prescribes, or dispenses medications or procedures to relieve another person's pain or discomfort, even if the medication or procedure may hasten or increase the risk of death, unless the medications or procedures are knowingly administered, prescribed, or dispensed to cause death; or
(2) withholds or withdraws a life-sustaining procedure.
(D) A person who violates subsection (B) is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than fifteen years or fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars or both.
(E) Injunctive relief may be sought against a person who is reasonably believed to be about to violate or who is in the course of violating subsection (B) by a person who is:
(1) the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of the person who would commit suicide;
(2) entitled to inherit from the person who would commit suicide;
(3) a health care provider of the person who would commit suicide; or
(4) a public official with appropriate jurisdiction to prosecute or enforce the laws of this State.
(F) A person enumerated in subsection (E) or the person who would have committed suicide, in the case of an attempt, may bring an action against a person who violates or attempts to violate subsection (B) for compensatory damages and punitive damages. The action may be brought whether or not the plaintiff had prior knowledge of the violation or attempted violation.
(G) In a proceeding brought pursuant to subsection (E) or (F), the court may award attorney's fees to the prevailing party.
(H) The licensing agency which issued a license or certification to a licensed health care professional who may revoke or suspend the license or certification of that person upon receipt of a copy of the record of:
(1) a criminal conviction or plea of guilty for the violation of subsection (B);
(2) a judgment of contempt of court for violating an injunction issued under subsection (E); or
(3) a judgment assessing damages under subsection (F)."
SECTION 2. If a provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act or the application of a provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word to any person or circumstance is found to be unconstitutional, the provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word is severable and the remainder of this act is effective notwithstanding the unconstitutionality. The General Assembly declares that it would have passed this act and each provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of the act, irrespective of the fact that a provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word may be declared unconstitutional."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.