ICBioethics Blog 

The Swiss Approach to Assisted Death

Written by: Leah Jeunnette, Ph.D.(c)

The Swiss have an unusual approach to assisted death. While it is legal in Switzerland, there are separate organizations that carry out the actual assisted death, and determine the rules to be followed. Essentially, it is up to each group to decide what they consider an acceptable reason and procedures for assisted death. This varies group to group. In fact, one group called Exit just added a new allowance — assisted death to those who are not terminally ill, but are of old age. This means that elderly people can seek the group Exit to end their lives, with no medical indication. Exit defends its decision by saying that procedures and evaluations create a lengthy process, which many elderly patients do not want.

In the United States, only a few states allow assisted death, but there is a very length process of documentation, discussions, and medical examinations. However, this example in Switzerland may become a discussion in the U.S. There are many who oppose assisted death for any reason, but there are those who support the option of assisted death in a controlled and regulated environment. So the question that follows is- should people be allowed to end their lives without having a medical indications? Where should, if there even should be, a line be drawn? I am concerned that the slippery slope will continue to legalize more and more types and allowances for assisted death, with less and less regulation. What are you concerned about in this discussion?

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Mitch GennusoComment