German parliament decides on assisted suicide proposals

Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, is to decide on draft legislation on euthanasia, three years after a landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court overturned a ban on assisted suicide.

The vote on Thursday would choose between the two proposals.

One proposal aimed at allowing doctors to prescribe drugs for suicide under certain conditions.

The other provided for a basic criminal liability, but with regulated exceptions.

In both drafts, such assistance would only be available for adults.

Early in 2020, Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that a ban on assisted suicide violated an individual’s right to self-determined dying.

The judges also argued that the right to self-determined dying also included the freedom to take one’s own life with the voluntary assistance of third parties.

This part of the ruling opened the door for organised services, but explicitly included regulatory options, such as counselling obligations and waiting periods.

Now, one group of liberal MPs has proposed a law that says that anyone who want to end his or her life of their own free will, has the right to seek help to do so.

Doctors would then be allowed to prescribe medicines, and not be prosecuted under criminal law.

A second, conservative bloc proposes a law to ensure a free decision to commit suicide, but to criminalise “businesslike’’ assistance in suicide.

Under their proposal, anyone who helped a person to commit suicide in a professional capacity faced up to three years imprisonment and heavy fines.

But the proposal did include certain exceptions. (dpa/NAN)