German Liberals present proposal to relax euthanasia


Central Europe


Injection needle. Image not related to article. Photo AFP, Tribouillard

Members of the Liberal Free Democratic Party in Germany and leftist politicians have presented a draft for new legislation on euthanasia. In their opinion, doctors should be able to prescribe suicide drugs for adults after a mandatory consultation.

Every adult should have the right to help with suicide, the politicians argue according to Pro. Therefore, the draft of the new law proposes several points of liberalisation of the existing regulation on assisted suicide.

One of them is that everyone who provides help with suicide should, in principle, be free from criminal charges. After mandatory counselling by a state-approved institution, anyone should have the right to assisted suicide, the draft says. The counselling session should be at least ten days ago but is no longer valid after eight weeks. Thus, the authors of the draft law want to ensure that the suicidal wish was “made independently, is permanent and not based on an acute mental disorder.” Pro reports that the draft law does not provide restrictions on euthanasia organisations.

Earlier, a similar draft law was presented. That time, it was not put into force. Leftist politicians now want to bring the second draft into the newly elected Bundestag. A decision, however, is pending because the Federal Constitutional Court recently declared that the current regulation concerning assisted suicide is inconsistent with the constitution. Currently, the law forbids any “commercial assisted suicide”, for example, by euthanasia organisations.

Alongside the new draft, which promotes self-determined dying, there is another draft in the making, which is precisely the opposite. It envisages criminal prosecution of advertising and promotion of suicide and assisted suicide and will focus on restricting commercial euthanasia.

In Germany, euthanasia has always been very sensitive because of the Nazi history. In the Third Reich there was a program called “euthanasia” for people with an handicap. Because of this, there is much more a taboo on life-ending measures than in neighbouring countries.



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