European Court of Human Rights Judge: “There is No Right to Assisted Suicide”

International   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   Jan 4, 2017   |   7:13PM   |   Strasbourg, France

The Times of Malta published a New Year’s interview by Matthew Xuereb, with Chief Justice emeritas Vincent De Gaetano, of the European Court of Human Rights in Malta.

Xuereb asked Justice De Gaetano a question concerning euthanasia, assisted suicide and the Vincent Lambert case. Justice De Gaetano responded by stating:

One cannot do justice in a few words to a very complex legal and moral issue. Euthanasia, however much one tries to hedge the definition, flies in the face of human dignity.

There is no right to suicide or to assisted suicide under the convention and no positive obligation to provide such.

The Lambert case concerned the withdrawal of fluids and food from Vincent Lambert, who was incompetent to make medical decisions and whose wishes were unknown. Justice De Gaetano responded to this issue by stating:

In Lambert, the main issue was different, namely whether, in the absence of a clear indication of the patient’s will, ordinary care by way of food and hydration could be withdrawn. It was a form of disguised euthanasia.

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The legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide does not provide individual rights but it gives doctors, or others, the right in law to cause your death. Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.