International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The German media has portrayed the decision by the German Ethics Council to reject the legalization of assisted suicide in a confusing manner.
According to Deutche Welle news the German Ethics Council rejected a change in the assisted suicide law, but suggested that in certain circumstances, the principle of confidentiality in the doctor-patient relationship should prevail. The article stated:
A majority of the members of Germany's Ethics Council rejects organized assisted suicide carried out with the help of doctors or other professionals, a statement issued on Friday said.
Such services should be banned "when they are designed for repeated use and occur in a public context, giving them the apparent status of social normality," the statment said.
However, although the council supported the view of the German Medical Association that helping a patient to die was not part of a doctor's duties, it said in exceptional circumstances a doctor's decision to assist in the suicide of a terminally ill person should be respected as part of a "confidential doctor-patient relationship" - even if the decision contradicted this principle.
"Hintze and Reimann have twisted the recommendations of the Ethics Council in their favor," he said, saying that a majority of the council's members rejected the idea that a patient had a right to a doctor's assistance with suicide.Peter Hintze and Carola Reimann, who are members of the Bundestag, are introducing an assisted suicide bill in the German Bundestag in February.