By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
An article published by NPR.org today examines the debate concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide in Germany.
Currently, euthanasia is illegal in Germany but there is no law concerning assisted suicide. The German Medical Association is urging the German government to prohibit euthanasia and assisted suicide and to forbid the commercialization of suicide.
As a result of German courts decisions confusion concerning the practise of assisted suicide exists. The article states:
... assisted suicide is a murky legal question in Germany. Killing terminally ill patients directly, even if they request it, is illegal in the country. Prescribing certain barbiturates used for euthanasia in other countries is also illegal in Germany. But prescribing other drugs to terminally ill patients and then letting them ingest or inject those medications is permitted.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government stated that:
...the current approach to assisted suicide is unacceptable.
Merkel plans to stop organizations and doctors from profiting from vulnerable patients who are dying by assisted suicide.
The Merkel government has assigned Michael Brand, a member of the Bundestag since 2005, to examine the issue. The NPR quotes Brand as stating:
... what the Belgians did amounts to "declaring their society bankrupt.
We aren't fundamentalists, but rather are looking for a modern and humane answer for ... the most difficult question.
We live in a society where everyone today is productive, fit and healthy. We need to be careful not to put pressure on those who are nearing the end of their lives, who are sicker, who are disabled. Who has the right to decide what life is worth living or not?
Germany needs to reject euthanasia and assisted suicide which are false acts of compassion that give the power to intentionally cause death to physicians.
It is a public safety issue. It is not safe to give anyone the right in law to intentionally cause the death of another person and you cannot protect people from those who will abuse the power over death.