German parliament to deliberate on law allowing doctors prescribe drugs for suicide


Germany’s Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, is set to vote on draft legislation regarding euthanasia, marking a significant development three years after the Constitutional Court overturned a ban on assisted suicide. The vote, scheduled for Thursday, will consider two proposals. One proposal seeks to permit doctors to prescribe drugs for assisted suicide in specific circumstances.

The second proposal outlined a framework for criminal liability but included regulated exceptions. Both draft legislations stipulate that assisted suicide would be restricted to adults.

In an earlier ruling in 2020, Germany’s Constitutional Court declared that a ban on assisted suicide infringed upon an individual’s right to self-determined dying. The court further stated that this right encompassed the freedom to end one’s own life with the voluntary assistance of others. This aspect of the ruling paved the way for regulated services, while also allowing for potential regulations such as mandatory counseling and waiting periods.

Currently, there are two proposals put forth by different groups of MPs. One proposal, supported by liberal MPs, suggests that individuals who wish to end their lives should have the right to seek assistance to do so. Under this law, doctors would be permitted to prescribe medications for assisted suicide without facing criminal prosecution.

The second proposal, put forward by a conservative bloc, aims to safeguard the freedom to make a decision regarding suicide while criminalizing “businesslike” assistance in the act. According to this proposal, individuals providing professional assistance in suicide could face imprisonment for up to three years and substantial fines. However, the conservative proposal does include certain exceptions to this criminalization.

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