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German High Court to Rule on Right to Suicide


It is an unfortunate feature of the contemporary age that many look at suicide as a human right to be enabled (in some cases, for now) rather than a tragedy to be prevented whenever possible. Now, in Germany, that question is about to be decided by the country’s highest court. From the Deutsche Welle story:

Actively aiding someone to knowingly commit suicide, however, is explicitly outlawed in Germany: The Bundestag passed legislation in 2015 banning the sale or prescription of drugs meant to end a patient’s life. Any physician, organization or private individual found to have distributed such drugs faces up to five years in prison under the law.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Germany’s highest court will hear oral arguments on whether the government’s 2015 ban on active assisted suicide violates patients’ personal freedoms and unjustly punishes physicians. A decision on the case could come anywhere from weeks to months after justices hear the case.

This case should receive far more attention than it has to date. Given the centrality of Germany in Europe and the nation’s influence within the EU, if the continent’s most important country embraces the culture of death, the darkness will spread.

Photo: Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), by Tobias Helfrich [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-posted at The Corner.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.



assisted suicidebioethicsBundestagBundesverfassungsgerichtcourtscultureDeutsche WelleEuropeEuropean UnionFederal Constitutional CourtGermanyhuman rightslawpatientsphysicianssuicide