Religion in Society

Assisted Suicide for Couples Being Promoted

| by Baptist Press

WASHINGTON -- Swiss euthanasia promoter Ludwig Minelli is calling for lethal prescriptions to be provided legally to the spouses and partners of terminally ill patients even when they are healthy.

"A change in the law is required to give dementia sufferers and their families more opportunities," said Minelli, founder of the euthanasia clinic Dignitas in Zurich, according to a report in the Daily Mail in London. "The partner should be allowed to have a prescription for these drugs even when they are not terminally ill.

"In such cases the partners are often a similar age and one does not want to remain without the other," Minelli said.

Assisted suicide is "a marvelous possibility given to a human being," he said, according to the Daily Mail report Oct. 19.

Zurich public prosecutor Andreas Brunner said of Minelli's recommendation, "In my view, no change in the law should be sought."

Switzerland allows physician-assisted suicide for those with a terminal illness. Dignitas has become known internationally as a destination for those from other countries seeking aid in killing themselves. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.

Assisted suicide involves a doctor prescribing but not administering the lethal drugs. In euthanasia, a physician administers the fatal dose.