German court scraps ban on professional assisted suicide
Karlsruhe, Germany: Germany's highest court on Wednesday ruled that a 2015 law banning professional assisted suicide was unconstitutional, saying in a landmark decision that people have "the right to a self-determined death".
The ruling is a major victory for the terminally ill patients, doctors and assisted suicide organisations who brought the case, complaining that the existing law went too far.
Judge Andreas Vosskuhle at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said the right to a self-determined death included "the freedom to take one's life and seek help doing so".
The court also surprised observers by explicitly stating that the right to assisted suicide services should not be limited to the seriously or incurably ill.
The freedom to choose one's death "is guaranteed in all stages of a person's existence", the verdict read.
Passed by lawmakers in 2015, the existing law, known as Paragraph 217, was mainly aimed at barring associations dedicated to helping patients wanting to die.
It also meant medical personnel faced prosecution for prescribing life-terminating drugs. - AFP