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Assisted suicide law splits government

The Local · 1 Aug 2012, 14:16

Published: 01 Aug 2012 14:16 GMT+02:00

All sides say commercial assisted suicide should be banned, as set out in the government’s coalition agreement – but disagreement has arisen over where the line should be drawn.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger wants to restrict the ban to organisations with commercial interests – leaving those who offer profit-free suicide advice to terminally ill people free to do so without fear of prosecution.

The Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper reported on Tuesday that Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had drafted a law which would lift the threat of prosecution friends and long-term housemates, as well as doctors and carers - if during treatment “a close personal relationship”.

Health spokesman for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Jens Spahn told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday, it was not acceptable that commercial operations should be threatened with up to three years in jail, while relatives and friends would excepted.

Lifting the threat of prosecution from those with a professional relationship to a terminally ill person would open the door to abuse. “Where would the line be drawn?” he asked.

President of the German Medical Association Frank Ulrich Montgomery said the idea was “something from a madhouse.”

Initially the idea was to ban commercial euthanasia, but, “then the justice ministry wants to create a legal basis for doctors to be suicide assistants.”

Doctors would not be available to do this, he said – adding that it was forbidden for doctors to kill patients even on request and that they were not allowed to help suicide either. That was in the professional code of all doctors, he said.

Story continues below…

Head of the German Hospice Association, Eugen Brysch, agreed and said he felt Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was encouraging the social acceptance of assisted suicide.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:00 August 1, 2012 by Herr Ed
And what's wrong with encouraging social acceptance of assisted suicide, at least for those who are terminally ill? No, doctors would rather use extraordinary (see "expensive") measures to keep somebody alive and in pain for as long as possible.
19:14 August 1, 2012 by lucksi
I think social acceptance is already there. It's just against the law.

What happened to my grandparents before they finally died, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. But I would wish it on the parents of politicians. Then the laws would be changed in a hurry, you can bet on that.

I hope if I ever get to a point in my life where it's only pain or I couldn't do anything anymore, that I still have my wits about me and ask for a visit to Switzerland if you get what I am hinting at.
19:52 August 1, 2012 by Steve1949
I agree. The law should be changed. I would certainly want to be put out of my misery if I had something terminal rather than suffering in pain everyday.
10:29 August 2, 2012 by Ozichick
And how soon before the elderly or handicapped (whose elderly parents have died and siblings can't, or won't take them) are "assisted to suicide" simply because they have become an inconvenience?
12:30 August 2, 2012 by michael4096
I would love the choice to go out when I want - preferably before the pain sets in. But, Ozichick is right this shouldn't happen before a solution is found to the 'assisted decision to suicide' problem from, amongst others, inheriting family.
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