A 91-year-old woman from California is selling suicide kits, and making a tidy sum doing it. Sharlotte Hydorn is so busy putting her kits together that she hasn’t had time to cash many of the checks coming in to her estimated $98,000 a year business.
Hydorn became involved with Derek Humphrey, an advocate of assisted suicide and founder of the Hemlock Society, shortly after her husband died a slow painful death. Humphrey’s book, Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying, is included in the suicide kits, along with a plastic bag and helium, which in pure form is lethal.
The legal and ethical issues involved in selling suicide kits are immense, and the controversy surrounding the concept of assisted suicide rages on. Taking control of one’s own life when facing a long and painful death is one thing, but selling the kits indiscriminately, via mail order, is sure to have some repercussions, also.
Hydorn makes no apology for selling the kits. She says, “Death should be with loved ones beside you, holding your hand.” In a perfect world, one would agree, but should suicide kits be readily available to those who are not terminally ill, to those suffering from depression, to young people just having a temporary set-back in life?
Hydorn’s company is called “The Gladd Group,” reports Yahoo! News. The cost of the kit is $60, and it is estimated that she sells as many as 1,600 each year.