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Lawmaker Seeks to Create a Felony for Arkansans who Encourage Suicide


A bill was filed in the Arkansas General Assembly that would create an offense for anyone who encourages the suicide of another person.

The bill, filed in the House on Wednesday by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould), would make the encouragement of suicide a Class D felony.

According to the bill, a person commits the offense if he or she uses “persistent language, either spoken or written, to purposely encourage another person to commit suicide; and as a proximate result of a person’s encouraging the suicide of the other person, the other person commits suicide or attempt” to do so, resulting in physical harm.

Gazaway’s bill comes days after Michelle Carter, a Massachusetts woman who sent her suicidal boyfriend a barrage of text messages urging him to kill himself was jailed on involuntary manslaughter convictions. Her case garnered international attention and provided a disturbing look at teenage depression and suicide.

READ MORE: View from the Senate: Legislature Approves High-Profile Bills

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