Swiss Vote to Keep Assisted Suicide

Monday, 16 May 2011 03:40 PM

By Martin Gould

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Voters in Switzerland decided overwhelmingly to reject a move to outlaw assisted suicide in the country, which has become a mecca for those wanting to end their lives.

The referendum in Zurich, home to two euthanasia groups, showed 85 percent against a ban on people getting help in killing themselves. A second vote to outlaw so-called “suicide tourism,” which permits foreigners to travel to the city to die, also was beaten resoundingly, with just 22 percent in favor, reports the BBC.

Around 200 people a year choose mercy killing in Switzerland’s largest city. Most of the foreigners are from Britain, France, and Germany, where the practice is illegal.

Two conservative parties had led the campaign to make assisted suicide illegal. The Swiss Evangelical People’s Party said it was unhappy to lose but pleased that the subject had been discussed. The country’s major parties opposed the ban.

The Swiss government now says it is looking to change the law so clinics can only help terminally ill people to die and to stop doctors prescribing the anesthetic unless they personally met the patient at least twice to be sure of their intentions.


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