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Germany to debate one step ahead in legalising medically assisted dying

According to German daily “Die Welt”, Germany inches ever closer to joining its neighbours Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg  in allowing active, medically assisted suicide on Tuesday as two new draft bills were presented to the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, ahead of a debate on the subject in July. Die “Welt”:  one version, which was sponsored by at least one member of every party in the Bundestag, is meant to represent a « middle way » between punishing those who provide euthanasia assistance and a complete deregulation of the process. It stipulates that groups which would provide these services for a fee – which are legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland – would still be forbidden. Anyone making money from another’s suicide would be punished with three years in prison.

The other, authored by Renate Künast of the Greens and Petra Sitte of the Left party, goes even further to remove legal hurdles to assisted suicide so that any responsible adult who has been counselled by a doctor would have the right to die. In Germany, it is currently illegal for a doctor to prescribe and administer a lethal dosage, although it is allowed in some circumstances. A patient must be able to take the drug without any physical assistance – effectively excluding anyone paralysed or in a vegetative state.

Germany’s Bundestag currently aims to pass new legislation on assisted suicide by November this year.