Every third German expects pressure for euthanasia in case of illness


Central Europe


What will happen when I am old and sick? The answer to that question is different in a country where euthanasia is legalised, a survey in Germany suggests. Photo AFP, Geoffroy Van der Hasselt

The pressure on the old and sick will increase as soon as active euthanasia is legalised. Almost one in three Germans (30 per cent) expect that.

This was the result of a survey conducted by the market and social research institute INSA-Consulere on behalf of the Protestant news agency IDEA.

Half of the people (49 per cent) do not share this fear. 18 per cent do not know their opinion, and 4 per cent did not answer.

Remarkable is that young people especially expect increased pressure on the elderly and sick. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 37 per cent have this fear. In the other age groups, it is less widespread.

In former Western Germany, 31 per cent agree with the forecast; in Eastern Germany, it is 28 per cent.


Euthanasia is a much more sensitive issue in Germany than in other European countries. When neighbour-country The Netherlands legalised euthanasia in 2000, the German Minister of Justice, Herta Däubler-Gmelin spoke about a “terrible breach of taboo”.

The reason for the German reluctance lies in the Nazi era. Before and during the Second World War, the word “euthanasia” was used for a killing program for disabled people.

Church members

In the present survey, church members are more likely to expect growing pressure than the average population: 40 per cent of members of free churches, 34 per cent of Protestants belonging to the EKD and 34 per cent Roman Catholics.

Among Muslims, it is 33 per cent, and among the non-denominational, 23 per cent.

Among the supporters of the political parties, right-wing AfD voters (36 per cent) most frequently expect that in the case of the legalisation of active euthanasia, the pressure on the old and sick will increase.

Among Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, 33 per cent each expect this to happen; among Liberals, 27 per cent; the Greens, 26 per cent and the Left, 19 per cent. For the survey, 2,005 adults were interviewed between 10 and 13 February.



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