(© picture-alliance/dpa)

  Assisted suicide

  9 Debates

Euthanasia for terminally ill patients is to become legal in Portugal. The left-liberal parliamentary majority has been seeking to pass the corresponding law for years, however the conservative president and vocal opponent of euthanasia, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has rejected the bill three times and twice appealed to the Constitutional Court. But now that the parliament has given it the green light he can no longer veto it.

The decriminalisation of active euthanasia has had a broad majority in the Portuguese parliament for years. However, two bills adopted by the MPs ultimately failed after being vetoed by the country's president and the Constitutional Court. Now the parliament is deliberating on another draft. The national press has different views on the chances of success.

Germany's Constitutional Court on Wednesday repealed a law that bans assisted suicide services on the grounds that it is unconstitutional as it violates the right to self-determined death. Introduced in 2015, the law stipulated that only relatives would be exempt of punishment in cases of assisted suicide; members of assisted suicide organisations and doctors could be sent to prison. Commentators welcome the ruling.

The case of a terminally ill woman suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease who wants to end her life in Switzerland by means of assisted suicide has sparked a debate in Estonia. Commentators discuss the complexity of the issue and put clear demands to politicians.

The Spanish Congress has agreed to consider a bill in favour of an individual's right to euthanasia. Under current legislation both assisted suicide and active euthanasia are punishable with up to six years in prison. What views does the Spanish press take of the decision?

In Italy the debate about assisted suicide has reignited over the case of Fabio Antoniani, known as DJ Fabo, who went to a Swiss clinic for assisted dying. After a car accident in 2014 left the 40-year-old blind and tetraplegic he had urged politicians in Italy to give people like him the right to decide for themselves when to die. The Italian media is divided over the case.

The UK's Supreme Court has ruled that in future doctors will be able to remove life-support for patients in a permanent vegetative state with the consent of their relatives. Up to now this had only been possible if the relatives took the case to court. Some journalists praise the decision while others see it as transgressing a moral boundary.

The Dutch government wants to make it possible for elderly people who are not seriously ill to end their own lives. Loneliness or the loss of independence can cause just as much suffering as illness and are therefore a legitimate reason for assisted suicide, a report put out by the country's Ministries of Health and Justice has found. Commentators ask how far self-determination should be taken.