Germany Passes Bill Allowing Doctors or Relatives to Kill People in Assisted Suicides

International   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   Nov 9, 2015   |   11:56AM   |   Berlin, Germany

The German Bundestag approved assisted suicide for altruistic reasons in a similar manner as the Swiss law except that they banned the commercialization of assisted suicide.

The fact is that the Swiss law permits assisted suicide for altruistic reasons, but the groups that facilitate assisted suicide actually developed over time, rather than the law simply permitting it. Therefore now that Germany officially permits assisted suicide, the question is how will it develop over time. The German RT news reported:

MPs in Germany have rejected a bill that would have made commercial assisted suicides legal, instead passing a new law punishing such practices with up to three years imprisonment, even if doctors perform the procedure to relieve suffering.

The bill, which was upheld with 360 out of 602 votes, criminalizes organizations that assist patients in terminating their own lives for profit. It is meant to prevent the commercialization of the procedure as a “suicide business.”

However, single instances of suicide assistance – by a doctor or relative – do not contradict the new law.

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The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes that the German Bundestag tried to keep the assisted suicide law as tight as possible, but in fact, we are concerned that now that the door is officially opened, how long will it take for the courts or future parliaments to expand the law?

Germany has not legalized euthanasia. Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.