German court approves access to suicide drugs

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have sad news. Yesterday the federal administrative court in Leipzig, Germany ruled that “in extreme circumstances,” it is illegal to refuse a suicide drug.

According to a DW [Deutsche Welle] news story:

The purchase of deadly drugs in Germany is forbidden, but the court found that the right of self-determination meant there should be exceptions for extreme cases “if, because of their intolerable life situation, they had freely and seriously decided to end their lives” and if there were no palliative-medical alternatives.

The German Foundation for the Protection of Patients opposed the decision, DW news reported. The Foundation said

the judgment was “a blow to the cause of suicide prevention in Germany.” Board member Eugen Brysch said the definition of “what an intolerable condition of suffering is remains open.” Suffering is “neither objectively measurable nor legally universally defined.”

In November 2015 the German Bundestag passed a law that banned assisted suicides performed by commercial groups (groups that provide assisted suicide for a fee).

Less than two months ago, on January 27, 2017, the German Bundestag honored the victims of the German euthanasia program. In an incredible understatement, the DW story concluded, “Euthanasia is a difficult subject in Germany given its associations with its Nazi history.”

Germany’s federal court has opened the door to the legalization of assisted suicide. It is very sad how we forget our history and once again give legal power to allow one person to be involved with causing the death of others.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.