German parliament votes against payment for assisted suicide

2015-11-06 18:36

Berlin - Germany's Bundestag parliament has passed a law that will outlaw payment for assisted dying following a conscience vote on Friday.

Lawmakers were offered a range of choices, including allowing paid-for mercy killings. But the deputies left in place existing laws, which have not interfered in doctors' discretion to shorten the agony of chronically ill patients' deaths.

The law only outlaws services by death doctors or charities like those in Switzerland or the Netherlands that accept payment to provide lethal drug doses to clients. It stipulates a jail term of up to three years jail for anyone accepting a fee to provide a means of suicide.

Germany generally does not interfere in doctors' good-faith decisions as part of a course of treatment to hasten death.

Religious leaders have concurred that striving to keep alive a person who is clearly dying with extra treatment or by minimising painkillers is unethical.

Kerstin Griese, a Social Democratic deputy who co-drafted and moved the bill, said that, in effect, the bill retained the present system.

Griese drafted the bill with Michael Brand of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and it was adopted with 360 out of 602 votes cast, with 233 no votes and nine abstentions. The parties made no recommendations, allow deputies to vote by their own consciences.

They rejected three other bills and the option of making no change.

In 12 months of public debate before the vote, many Germans voiced disquiet about euthanasia and called for more hospices to be provided for the dying and better palliative care to reduce the pain caused by mortal diseases.

Read more on:    germany

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