By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Editor’s note. The ratio of French francs to American dollars is almost exactly 1-1. So, for example, 200 francs is $199.67. By contrast each British pound equals $1.35.
In response to the latest assisted suicide campaign, whereby a healthy 104 year-old man is seeking to die by assisted suicide in Switzerland, the Swiss Local News published an article on how the Swiss assisted suicide law and clinics operate.
One of the issues that the Swiss news investigated was – How much does assisted suicide cost? The article reported on the fees to die at the Dignitas clinic:
Beyond the Dignitas membership costs (200 francs for a one-off joining fee, or 80 francs a year), people wishing to pursue assisted suicide must pay an upfront 4,000-franc fee, without any guarantee this suicide will go ahead.
A further 1,000 francs must be paid for medical consultations and the writing of the prescription for medication required.
Finally, if assisted suicide goes ahead, another 2,500 francs is charged to cover Dignitas costs, according to their website.
Dignitas can also organise funerals and oversee administrative affairs.
The total cost is therefore 7,500 francs without funeral and administrative services and 10,500 francs with those services – usually payable in advance.
But it should be noted Dignitas can waive some or all costs for people in financial difficulties.
The last comment, about waiving some or all of the costs to kill people in financial distress is questionable at best.
Several years ago the Telegraph did an investigation into the Dignitas suicide clinic. The Telegraph reported how profitable Dignitas had become:
Previously a human rights lawyer and an attorney at the Zurich bar, Mr Minelli had no taxable personal fortune registered when he set up his suicide clinic in 1998.
A decade later, the Beobachter investigation found, he had an annual taxable income of £98,000 and a personal fortune of over £1.2 million, wealth that includes a luxury villa.
Mr. Minelli, who said he would take no salary from Dignitas when opening the clinic 12 years ago, has insisted that his wealth comes from an inheritance, left by his mother.
But the cost of a simple suicide at Dignitas has risen from £1,800 in 2005 to £4,500, fuelling suspicions that the clinic may not be sticking to Swiss laws that are supposed to prevent people “selfishly” profiting from assisted suicide.
The cost of the clinic’s full service, including funerals, medical costs and official fees, is as high as £7,000 [which would be essentially $9,500].
…Dignitas has faced criticism for accepting donations from suicide clients, one patient is said to have signed over more than £60,000.
Soraya Wernli, a nurse employed by Dignitas between 2003 and 2005, has accused the organisation of being a “production line of death concerned only with profits.”
The Dignitas assisted suicide clinic has promoted their business on a world-wide basis. They are not a non-profit corporation and I doubt they are offering free deaths for the poor.