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Assisted Suicide: The Right to Last Aid Remains Untouched

Giordano Bruno Foundation welcomes the rejection of a new law on assisted suicide


Foto: Evelin Frerk

The bill by MPs Lars Castellucci et al., which proposed the reintroduction of the "Euthanasia Prevention Paragraph" 217 of the German Criminal Code, was rejected in today's session of the German Bundestag. The Giordano Bruno Foundation welcomes the decision, rendering a renewed appeal to Karlsruhe unnecessary. 

"We closely followed the vote in the Bundestag, as it was not clear in advance whether Lars Castellucci's draft, which we consider to be anti-liberty and unconstitutional, would find a parliamentary majority after all," explains gbs spokesman Michael Schmidt-Salomon. "And indeed, the result of the vote was very close, with 363 votes against and 304 votes in favor. We are very pleased that the success of the campaign for the Right to Last Aid has not been reversed retrospectively and that it will now not be necessary to appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court on this matter." 

 According to the gbs spokesperson, the fact that the alternative draft by Katrin Helling-Plahr, Renate Künast and others was also not adopted does not mean that there is a "dangerous gray area" in Germany regarding professional assisted suicide, as some members of the Bundestag have suggested. Schmidt-Salomon refers to the Hans Albert Institute's statement "Den letzten Weg selbst bestimmen" (Self-determination in one's end-of-life journey) from February 2023 and the "Berlin Appeal", which the gbs presented together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Humanes Sterben, Dignitas Deutschland and Verein Sterbehilfe in February 2022. It states, among other things: "If a law is not necessary, then it is necessary not to pass a law." In this respect, today's vote in the Bundestag can be seen as a success – even if some aspects of the proposal by Helling-Plahr, Künast et al., such as a low-threshold counseling service, are certainly worth considering. 

Schmidt-Salomon is concerned, however, that more than 300 members of the Bundestag voted in favor of a presumably unconstitutional law: "It seems to me that quite a few parliamentarians urgently need further training in the constitutional foundations of politics." At the beginning of this year, the gbs and its cooperation partners ran a campaign on this topic under the title: "Those who do not understand the constitution have no place in the Bundestag".