Berlin - According to survey, 67 percent of Germans are in favor of active euthanasia. 38 percent would “fully” support it, 29 percent would “tend to” agree with it, according to survey by the YouGov opinion research institute published today in Berlin. 17 percent rejected active euthanasia “completely” or “somewhat”. At 72 percent, there were more supporters in East Germany than in West Germany (65 percent).
Active euthanasia is prohibited in Germany and is punishable by up to five years in prison. Aid to suicide on business basis, for example by euthanasia associations, is also prohibited. Letting die by switching off apparatus and indirect euthanasia, in which strong medication relieves pain and, as side effect, accelerates death, are permissible if the patient has ordered this.
A legalization of assisted suicide in the survey is in favor of 45 percent "completely" and 24 percent "somewhat". 13 percent reject admission. A total of 75 percent agree with the legality of passive euthanasia. 8 percent reject it.
The YouGov survey was conducted in April. Yesterday the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled that doctors are not obliged to save the lives of patients after attempting suicide against their will. The BGH thus confirmed two acquittals by the regional courts in Berlin and Hamburg, which had decided that the will of the patients counted.
Two doctors had accompanied physically ill people to death after taking fatal drugs. They did not take any measures to save them. They were then charged with homicides. In both cases it was the patients' clear will to end their lives, according to the courts.
There had been clear criticism from the German Medical Association (BÄK), medical associations and the Marburger Bund medical union. It must be emphasized that participation in suicides is not one of the medical tasks, explained BÄK President Klaus Reinhardt. It would be fatal if the expectation were aroused that there would be right to medical assistance in suicide.
Chambers and MB pointed out that the medical professional code clearly states that doctors are not allowed to provide assistance in suicide.