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German Court: Ending one’s own life is not a medical service

A landmark ruling was issued by The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig on the 7th of November which clarified that ending one own’s life was fundamentally not a medical service. 

The court stated that the ability to simply and freely access lethal compounds is a direct contradiction to the state’s duty to protect the general public. 

As stated in the court's official press release, "the use of an anaesthetic to cure or alleviate illness or pathological complaints" is included in medical care. This does not include suicide. "In theory, suicide does not serve such a therapeutic function." 

“We welcome the ruling of the Federal Administrative Court. The court makes a clear distinction between medical means of healing, alleviation, and health promotion and the demand for killing. Suicide is not a health service. The task of doctors, medical professionals, and also the personal environment is to save lives and provide support instead of killing,” states Dr. Felix Böllmann, a German attorney who oversees ADF International's European operations for human rights. 

To add to this statement, the court has also claimed that one crucial factor in this decision is the “design of the protection framework to prevent misuse and abuse” of deadly substances.  

“The current legal situation remains unsatisfactory since the German Constitutional Court made a dramatic shift, leaving the most vulnerable people in society unprotected from the dangers of assisted dying while allowing commercial and ideological interests to dominate the scene” Böllmann said. 

“Nevertheless, It is good that the federal administrative court mentions and strengthens the state’s concept of protecting the life of every individual. Everyone has a right to life. And everyone has the right to have their life protected from and by everyone.

Indeed, the state has a legal obligation to systematically protect every human life. A look at other countries shows that the misuse of lethal means can never be prevented. For this reason alone, the state’s framework of protection and prevention must place high demands on the delivery of such compounds.” he continued, further demonstrating the reasoning behind his declaration that assisted suicide should not be classified as a “health service”.

The decision is made in the midst of a global discussion about end-of-life care. 

Numerous individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities were euthanised in the Netherlands, according to a recent medical study

Recent statistics show that one in 25 people in Canada die by euthanasia. Euthanasia for drug addicts is also scheduled to be introduced in Canada this spring. 

In October of 2022, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in a case on euthanasia that set a precedent for European countries. The court recognised the case of Tom Mortier, a university professor, who’s mother was put to death by lethal injection.The Court found that Belgium had infringed upon this woman's right to life, but despite this devastating fact, the action was not against the country's euthanasia law. 

Motier’s mother had been suffering from depression. She was euthanised by a supporter of assisted suicide. The doctor who gave her this lethal injection, despite possessing no training in psychology, was a member of the committee tasked with conducting a "independent" investigation into the euthanasia case.


Photo Credit: Gagarin Iurii / Shutterstock


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