Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Germany High Court Rules Assisted Suicide Ban Unconstitutional

EuthanasiaIn 2015, Germany passed a law that allowed assisted suicide for "altruistic motives," but forbade people from offering it to someone else "on business terms." For those that crossed the line the punishment was up to three years in prison. The law was meant to curtail assisted suicide and it immediately raised questions as to whether doctors prescribing medication to assist in an ill patient's suicide was in a business fashion.

Germany's highest court ruled Wednesday that the law banning assisted suicide when being conducted on a "business basis" is unconstitutional. Active assistance is banned in Germany, but passive help, such as providing deadly medication for them to take themselves has been a legal gray area. This hesitance stems from that fact that the last time euthanasia was part of public policy it was used by the Nazis to kill more than 200,000 people with physical and mental disabilities.

The 2015 law sought to narrow the regulations with middle-of-the-road proposal that received cross-party support. The four proposals discussed at that time ranged from fully permitting the practice so long as it is not for profit to a near-complete ban.

See, Associated Press, Germany High Court Rules Assisted Suicide Ban Unconstitutional, Fox News, February 26, 2020.


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