Living Within Assisted Suicide: Drawing a Landscape and its Transnational Movements

11.10.2018 von marcosfan | Kommentare | Permalink

Since 1871, upon the inception of the Criminal Code of the German Empire (Reichsstrafgesetzbuch), suicide assistance in Germany relied on the principle that the assistance of a legal act cannot be considered illegal: if suicide is legal, it follows that assistance to suicide also has to be legal. However, in 2015, after being the subject of intense political debate in Germany, with four different law proposals being presented at the Bundestag in order to regulate the issue, a new law on assisted suicide was approved by the Parliament. Members of Parliament were granted a free vote from the official parties’ position, for the issue was considered a matter of conscience. Throughout the Friday morning of November 6th, 29 Members of Parliament took to the podium prior to the vote to express their views on assisted suicide, often sharing personal experiences. When speaking at the Parliament, for instance, Dr.Carola Reimann said:

“Ladies and gentleman, I do not know what it feels like to live with a painful, incurabledisease. I do not know what decision I would make in this case. All I know is: should I be in this situation, I personally want to find my own way. As a Member of Parliament I say: I want that others have this freedom.”

Rudolf Henke, also a Member of the Bundestag, shared a private experience:

“I’ll tell you something: I have, I think when I was 22 or 23 years old, stood at the window and asked myself during a relationship crisis: What do I do now? – if there had been one who would have pushed just a bit, who would have promoted a little, then maybe I would not be here.”

The sharing of personal considerations and private experiences filled the debate alongside questions regarding the reach and duty of the Parliament; the role of the State and of the individuals; the breach of traditions; the limits of legalization and the dangers of criminalization; the role of the medical profession and the right for self-determination....

( German: Euthanasie)

Die Erfahrung

Assisted Suicide; Euthanasia/Euthanasie




Marcos Andrade Neves has a PhD on Social Anthropology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil, and is an external member of the research area "Medical Anthropology," at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, where he is currently teaching.


Behinderung, Krankheit, Tod, Körper, Partner, Pflege, Wissenschaft, Alter