|Origins||Voluntary Euthanasia Research Foundation (VERF Inc.)|
|Philip Nitschke, Fiona Stewart|
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Exit International is an international non-profit organisation advocating legalisation of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. It was previously known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Research Foundation (VERF Inc.).
Exit International was founded by Dr Philip Nitschke in 1997 after the over-turning of the world's first Voluntary Euthanasia law—the Rights of the Terminally Ill (ROTI) Act enacted in the Northern Territory, Australia. During the ROTI Act, Nitschke became the first physician in the world to administer a legal, lethal, voluntary injection.
In 2011 Exit International unveiled the first pro-euthanasia billboard in Australia on the Hume Highway near Sydney. The plan had previously met with opposition when the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau wrote to Exit International, informing them that the advertisement may be illegal as it would contravene state laws on aiding or abetting suicide. Exit International successfully countered by arguing that the language used on the billboard did not argue for euthanasia, but instead referred only to the public support for the act.
Prior to the billboard, Exit International had developed a pro-voluntary euthanasia television advertisement that was due to screen in 2010. The advertisement was prompted by a The Gruen Transfer segment, where two advertising agencies had been requested to create a pro-euthanasia advertisement to "market the unmarketable". Although the winning entry was not able to be used by Exit International, they employed the successful advertising agency. The resulting advertisement was to screen on 12 September, but was unable to be shown after approval for the advertisement was withdrawn two days prior to screening, legal concerns in regard to the promotion of euthanasia and suicide being cited as the cause.
In 2016 Nitschke announced that Exit International would form a subgroup called "Exit Action" that would launch militant direct action campaigns to pressure governments to allow unrestricted adult access to euthanasia. Rather than hope that politicians might take pity and change the law, Exit Action would launch online buyers' clubs for euthanasia drugs, regardless of legislation or permission from the medical profession. Nitschke stated "Exit Action believes that a peaceful death, and access to the best euthanasia drugs, is a right of all competent adults, regardless of sickness or permission from the medical profession."
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