FLORIDA - A billboard is going up by what some consider to be an assisted suicide organization. In a couple of months, you could be driving past it every single day.
These billboards have already popped up in San Francisco and New Jersey. So why was Southwest Florida chosen as its next destination? A local spokesperson says it's not meant to spark controversy, but dialogue.
"My life. My death. My choice." Come November, the Final Exit Network wants to post this billboard on Interstate 75 between Sarasota and Lee Counties. Some drivers don't get it. "I'm not even sure what that means," Jason Danweber said.
Others worry it sends a negative message. "Oh, that's very interesting," Beth Cubbage aid. "Not so sure I'd want that on 75."
You may have heard about the Final Exit Network in the past when Charlotte County resident Thomas Goodwin and three other members were indicted on charges they helped a Georgia man with Cancer kill himself. Spokesperson Frank Kavanaugh says Final Exit Network doesn't encourage or provide the means for anyone to die. "What we have always wanted to do was to promote dialogue about the right to die, and for people to examine whatever choices they want to make for themselves about what they want or what they don't want at the end of their life," Kavanaugh said.
Because they send mailings to more than 400 people in Florida, the majority in South Florida, they chose I-75. When we asked for their response to some drivers who say they don't want to see that message, Kavanaugh said, "Well, we think there is a right of free speech and that we are entitled to put it up. People who believe otherwise will look at the boards and say, 'I don't think that ought to be up there.' That's their personal opinion, but others look at it and say, 'yeah, I understand.'"
Others, like Lance Malone. "My mother had Cancer you know, and in the end ,it was kind of her decision just to let it go because she was suffering so much," Malone said.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Venice says: "The Diocese of Venice in Florida is concerned by the proposed plan by the Final Exit Network to put billboards along Interstate 75, because vulnerable patients may be misled by the new billboards. The fear of prolonged death and concerns about being a burden tempts some to take control of death and bring it about before its time, but this is a false mercy. Our human dignity demands that those facing the end of life receive compassionate care until their natural death."