Monday, July 07, 2008

The German upper house has passed a motion calling for the laws on assisted suicide to be tightened

The impetus being the death by assisted suicide a week ago of a 79-year-old Hamburg woman, Bettina Schart.

As noted last week, Bettina Schart was not in chronic pain or suffering from a terminal illness at the time of her death from the deadly combination of drugs she prepared and drank at the advice of Roger Kusch, an ex-senator in Hamburg. She was healthy and simply wanted to avoid moving into a nursing home.

According to this Associated Press report, helping someone to kill themselves is not illegal in Germany as long as someone does not physically help the person to end the person's life.

Under the proposed new legislation, which has been passed by the upper house, it will become illegal for any organisation to help someone kill themselves or even to give them advice on how to do so. After the upper house, the bill must then go to the lower house, the Bundestag.