Euthanasia - when is it punishable?

Live self-determined, die self-determined? What is the legal framework for euthanasia in germany and other countries?

Euthanasia - when is it punishable?

Living self-determined, self-determined - that is the main argument for many advocates of euthanasia. What kind of euthanasia exists, how other countries handle it and what is the legal framework in Germany, you can find out here.

Falling asleep healthy in old age and not waking up - this idea of ​​dying will only become reality. Often, dying takes place and can be associated with pain and drastic limitations in quality of life. Last but not least, many dying people are afraid of being "burdened" with their environment. This all fuels fears and awakens the desire of some to determine when they die - even if the help of others is needed.

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What is euthanasia?

Is it allowed to help someone dying? This is a hotly debated issue that both ethicists and legislators are working at again and again. Basically, different forms of euthanasia are defined:

Passive euthanasia: Life-prolonging measures (for example, artificial nutrition, artificial respiration, or the administration of certain life-support medicines) will not be continued. The basis for this is usually the explicit patient will, for example in the form of a living will. If this is the case, passive euthanasia is not punishable in Germany.

Indirect euthanasia: By this one understands for example the gift of painkillers or tranquillizers, which alleviate the suffering, but at the same time limit the life expectancy. An example is opiates, which relieve the pain and anxiety, but at the same time also dampen the breathing. The latter effect is then accepted with approval - also expressly confirmed by a judgment of the Federal Court of Justice in 1996. Indirect euthanasia is therefore not punishable in Germany.

Assisted suicide: A suicide - for example, by a poison cocktail - is not punishable by law. Purely legally, the aid to suicide is not punishable. However, helpers can subsequently be prosecuted for failure to provide assistance. Doctors, however, prohibit the professional right to assist people in suicide. For example, a violation may result in the withdrawal of the medical profession permit.

Active euthanasia: It is also called "killing on request" and is punishable in Germany. For example, when someone delivers a deadly remedy to a dying person, even if they expressly wish to do so. Anyone who is guilty of this must expect imprisonment between six months and five years.

Point of discussion: Assisted suicide

The debates that are currently being conducted deal mainly with assisted suicide. Because these use, for example, dying clubs or other organizations that offer euthanasia. Federal Health Minister Hermann GrΓΆhe wants a comprehensive ban on all such euthanasia offers. Nobody should profit from the suffering and death of others.

Members of the Union and the SPD, on the other hand, want at least physicians to be allowed by law to support their desire to kill themselves - at least within a narrow legal framework. However, the German Medical Association points out that doctors are obliged to save their lives, not to help stop it. A clear no to the medical euthanasia.

On one point, however, all sides agree: Germany should be better in palliative and hospice care. In the spring of 2015, bills were submitted for the regulation of euthanasia in Germany, which are to be launched after parliamentary debates during the year.

Euthanasia in Europe

However, it is unlikely that euthanasia in Germany will be handled as liberally in the foreseeable future as, for example, with its European neighbors Belgium or Luxembourg. There, active euthanasia is allowed under certain circumstances by a physician. It is important, among other things, that the patient is in a medically hopeless situation and can be foreseen that his remaining life would be accompanied by unbearable suffering.

In Switzerland, active euthanasia is prohibited, but the aid for suicide is unpunished, as long as there are no "selfish" reasons. Several euthanasia organizations such as "Dignitas" or "Exit" work on this legal basis.

Italy, Austria or Denmark legally prohibit active euthanasia and assisted suicide, while passive or indirect euthanasia is permitted.

Euthanasia - when is it punishable?

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