• Germany's news in English

Assisted suicide law splits government

The Local · 1 Aug 2012, 14:16

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.
Today's headlines
After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Eurowings union threatens cabin crew strike for Thursday
Photo: DPA.

A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will start as of Thursday if ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd