Switzerland Government Official Wants Assisted Suicide Death Tourism to Stop
by Steven Ertelt
July 14, 2008
Zurich, Switzerland (LifeNews.com) — A leading government official in Switzerland wants the European nation to stop the infamous practice of "death tourism." That’s where residents of other countries come to the mountainous nation to have pro-euthanasia groups help them engage in an assisted suicide.
Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf says the practice is giving her nation a bad name.
"Today somebody can come to Switzerland and already the next day can have an assisted suicide through one of these assisted suicide organizations. This should not be possible," Widmer-Schlumpf told the Sonntags Zeitung newspaper.
Widmer-Schlumpf wants to see legislation introduced that would help slow down the practice, since it is unlikely that she can get the Swiss parliament to ban assisted suicides.
She told the newspaper she wants a reflection period in place between the time when the patient comes to Switzerland and the pro-euthanasia group Dignitas carries out the suicide request.
During the reflection time, the patient would receive counseling from a third-party group.
Widmer-Schlumpf also wants more transparency with regard to the funding of Dignitas and similar groups that kill patients coming to Switzerland.
In May, Dignitas released new figures showing more people than ever are opting to have the staff take their lives and that the number of Britons going there to die is on the rise.
UK residents are now in the top three nationalities of the people who go to the euthanasia center.
The euthanasia center has killed 868 in assisted suicides since it began and 335 people in the last two years alone. About 85 percent of the people who die there are foreign nationals with the rest hailing from Switzerland.
Dignitas director Ludwig Minelli told The Sun newspaper that half of the people who die there are German and British and French residents account for most of the rest.
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