Swiss back off restrictions on assisted suicide
Despite controversy at home and abroad over its law on assisted suicide, the Swiss government has decided not to modify it. Instead, it plans to promote palliative care and suicide prevention.
Despite controversy at home and abroad over
its law on assisted suicide, the Swiss government has decided not to modify it.
Instead, it plans to promote palliative care and suicide prevention.
Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga says that
abuses of the system can be tackled under the existing legislation. “Revising the
current legislation could give an official stamp of approval to organisations offering
their services for assisted suicide,” she said.
Over the past ten years the Swiss justice ministry
has studied several options for dealing with assisted suicide clinics which
help Swiss citizens and foreigners to die. In its latest, it proposed tougher
regulation of assisted suicide groups.
Switzerland’s main assisted suicide organisations,
Exit and Dignitas, welcomed the decision. Ludwig Minelli, of Dignitas, told SwissInfo
that abuses of assisted suicide in Switzerland are extremely rare.
The number of cases of “suicide tourism” from
other countries dropped from 195 in 2006, to 97 in 2010, according to the Federal
Health Office. However, the number of presumed assisted suicide cases involving
Swiss residents increased to 257 from 150. SwissInfo,
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