A close friend should be allowed to help someone commit suicide, says the German Justice Minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. According to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung the ministers want to lift the threat of prosecution for friends and long-term housemates, as well as doctors and carers, if they develop “a close personal relationship”. 

Her government is struggling to draft a law banning assisted suicide, but there are serious disagreement among the ministers in the coalition. Although all parties agree that commercial assisted suicide should be banned, disagreement has broken out over whether people without a financial stake should be exempted. 

Health minister Jens Spahn told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that it was not acceptable that commercial operations should be threatened with up to three years in jail, while relatives and friends would exempted. “Where would the line be drawn?” And the president of the German Medical Association Frank Ulrich Montgomery said the idea was “something from a madhouse.” ~ The Local, Aug 1  

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.