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A Hemlock by any other name...

Thursday, August 20, 1970

The Hemlock Society USA intends to change its name to one more acceptable to legislators. But it cannot make up its mind to what. When Hemlock’s founders adopted the name in l980 it was meant as an allusion to the poison weed used by ancient Greek and Roman civilizations for suicide. In literature, particularly Shakespeare, the ‘taking of hemlock’ referred to rational suicide. American legislators apparently see odious connotations to Socrates taking hemlock because the Roman Senate condemned to him to death or exile for treasonous teachings.

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