The Corner

Law & the Courts

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 DW 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.


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