Assisted suicide in Germany, the federation of doctors change their medical code to allow it.

Stealth steps to legalize assisted suicide:

  • Last year, the German high court ruled that a law banning assisted suicide services was unconstitutional.
  • German lawmakers presented two separate draft bills on assisted suicide that are making their way to Parliament. A final vote is expected before the end of the current parliamentary term next month.
  • This month, an article published in The Irish Times (read HERE) entitled, “Vote by Germany’s doctors paves the way for assisted suicide”, reports that “German doctors held an emotional debate on the issue at their annual gathering on Wednesday. One camp urged the association to regulate the existing reality of assisted suicide in Germany [our emphasis], while another camp warned of ‘opening Pandora’s box’”.
  • Now, most members of the German Doctors’ Federation have voted in favor of removing from their charter the sentence: “A doctor may not provide any assistance for suicide.”

The federation explains this change, saying that it accepted its members’ “individual questions of conscience and no longer want to pursue this as a breach of professional obligations”. This change from consistent opposition to a permissive attitude eases the path for assisted suicide activists and lawmakers.

Professional obligations to avoid assisted suicide in Germany changed by a poll

The main argument for removing the aforementioned clause of the German medical code was a poll showing that a majority of Germans are now “in favor of liberalizing assisted suicide”. In this respect, Eugen Brysch, head of the Germany Patient Protection foundation, argued that such surveys are always a reflection of the times in which they are carried out. “It is no wonder that the support for death on demand is rising in a time of pandemic with suffering, loneliness and doubt”, he said.

In this respect, we published a review entitled, OPINION OF PHYSICIANS AND THE GENERAL POPULATION ON THE LEGALIZATION OF EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE, which included Germany (Cuadernos de Bioética. 2021; 32(104): 23-36 DOI: 10.30444/CB.85.). In the paper, we said, “In Germany, the issue of euthanasia is considered from a particularly sensitive perspective due to the country’s experiences during the Nazi era. In 2005, a survey was published that included 481 clinicians, 233 of whom responded (48%). This showed that 33% would not perform euthanasia and only 5% would; in contrast, 42% would have no objection to doing so in the case of assisted suicide. Subsequently, in 2014, another survey was published asking whether assisted suicide should be allowed, with 47% answering yes, compared to 33% in 2010.”

Regarding the reliability of the aforementioned online survey, we were unable to find the datasheet to make a judgment. However, statistics specialists point out the potential difficulty in achieving the high quality of the sample demanded by this online YouGov survey. In such a delicate matter, it is also important that the questions asked are accurately formulated.

What has to do majorities in an issue of life or death?

This is a hard blow for pro-life advocates, because Germany has a sad history of eugenic murders, with more than 300,000 people executed by Nazi authorities for the sole reason of being considered “unworthy of life” as they suffered from mental or physical disabilities. A slippery slope is frequently embarked upon in countries where the “right to death” on-demand is legalized (read HERE).