Parliamentary Orientation Discussion

On the Issue of Fully Autonomous Suicide Decisions in Practice



After the Federal Constitutional Court declared in its judgment of 26 February 2020 the prohibition of (professionalised) assisted suicide services (Section 217 of the Strafgesetzbuch [Criminal Code]) unconstitutional, experts and the wider public have been discussing possible new regulations on suicide assistance. One of the main tasks of such a regulation would be to ensure full autonomy of a decision to commit suicide, which is essential for suicide assistance to be permissible.

In its Opinion „Suicide – Responsibility, Prevention and Autonomy“ published on 22 September 2022, the German Ethics Council specified the requirements for a decision to commit suicide to be qualified as fully autonomous. In this context, the Council invites members of the German Bundestag and their assistants to a non-public parliamentary orientation discussion. Based on the criteriology outlined in the Opinion, the meeting is intended to discuss the issue of determining full autonomy in suicide decisions and how to put this into practice. Andreas Heinz, Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Charité – University Medicine Berlin, and Claudia Bausewein, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Palliative Medicine at LMU Klinikum München, will present their perspectives on the topic with regard to the fields of psychiatry and palliative medicine.

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