Friday, August 26, 2022

German Bundestag debates assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The German Bundestag
The German Bundestag is debating three draft laws to regulate assisted suicide.

In February 2020, Germany's high court legalized assisted suicide by creating a "right to a self-determined death" In February, 2022 a German court in Münster upheld a restriction to assisted suicide when it decided that people do not have the right to purchase lethal drugs for suicide.

Section 217 of the German criminal code which prohibited assisted suicide was changed by the February 2020 German Supreme Court decision which recognized a right to self-determined death, which included the freedom to take one’s own life.

Section 216 of the German criminal code which prohibits euthanasia "killing on request" was not changed by the German Supreme Court decision.

A recent report explains that the first proposal, being debated by the Bundestag, would regulate assisted suicide by requiring, among other things, mandatory counseling, it would prohibit the commercial promotion of assisted suicide and it would expand suicide prevention programs. The second proposal would regulate assisted suicide but it would only require, among other things, mandatory counseling.

The first and second proposals make distinctions between medical emergencies and non-medical emergencies and require assessments of the person's health condition.

The third proposal, which is supported by Left-wing politician Petra Sitte does not require a medical assessment. It is described as "open-ended" and only requires the person to have an “autonomously formed, free will”.

Petra Sitte, who opposes restrictions on assisted suicide reportedly stated:

However, this must absolutely be open-ended in order to guarantee this right of self-determination without restriction. Access conditions like illness or even building up expert hurdles is wrong.
The German Foundation for Patient Protection which opposes assisted suicide stated that the legislation must ensure that a person is not influenced or pressured to die. They also stated that the legislation must not allow a blurred line between euthanasia (active injection) and assisted suicide.

Germany needs to examine what has happened in Canada and not follow Canada's lead. Canada legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016 and in a few short years the "safeguards" have been essentially removed and the reasons for killing people has exponentially expanded to include euthanasia for mental illness alone.

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