Swiss to tighten assisted suicide rules, maybe even ban it

October 29, 2009
Undertakers remove body of assisted suicide from Dignitas office in Zurich, 20 Jan 2003/Sebastian Derungs
(Photo: Undertakers remove body of an assisted suicide from Dignitas office in Zurich, 20 Jan 2003/Sebastian Derungs)

Switzerland is looking to change the law on assisted suicide to make sure it is only used as a last resort by the terminally ill.  “We have no interest, as a country, in being attractive for suicide tourism,” Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told a news conference in the capital Berne.

A rise in the number of foreigners seeking to end their lives in Switzerland, and a study last year showing that more and more people seeking assisted suicides in the country do not suffer from a terminal illness, have provoked heated debate.

The cabinet — which is divided on the emotive issue — sent two proposals into the legislative process for consultation, which will last until March 1: one for tighter regulation and the other for an outright ban.

Switzerland’s two main right-to-die groups, Exit and Dignitas, both said they opposed the government proposals and would seek a referendum on the topic if needed.

Read the full story here.

What do you think? Should assisted suicide be liberalised, restricted or banned altogether?

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The author of the article stated that in the US only Oregon permits physician aid-in-dying. This is not true. Washington State passed a law almost identical to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act in 2008 and enacted it in 2009. Also, a lower court judge ruled in 2008 that the citizens of the state of Montana have the right to end their life using medicine prescribed by a physician.It should also be noted that the use of the word “suicide” is hurtful to those who use the law and is in fact not used when referring to the process.George EighmeyExecutive DirectorCompassion & Choices of Oregon