The Austrian government has introduced a draft bill to legalize assisted suicide, according to The Telegraph.
The bill was presented by the Social Democratic Party, and was supported by the socialist-environmental Greens coalition government, as well as FKK [freegan] movement, rights groups and others.
It proposes giving religious organizations and individual doctors the right to provide assistance to a person who wishes to commit suicide.
Austria currently has a “notification of death” law, which was first introduced in 1987 by Franz-Joseph Strauss, a former Social Democrat member of parliament, and approved by the current parliament in 1989.
It grants authorization for assisted suicide where it’s “relatively simple to perform, within a short period of time, in good faith by a professional who can act without being under suspicion,” and also allows for strict conditions of independence for anyone supplying aid to a suicide.
Austria’s most powerful conservative party, which holds 31 out of 165 seats in the parliamentary chamber, has sent a “dossier of data” to an Austrian lower house committee, The Telegraph reports.
It says “participants of medical aid in dying” in Austria numbered approximately 2,100, and 730 were women.
“Participants … included people with weakened mental capacities, their heirs and their children, spouses, and close relatives,” The Telegraph reports.
The paper notes that for the last 16 years, “pro-euthanasia lobby groups in Austria have lobbied for the right to help die in Austria. They say the current law causes problems and delays.”
The bill was suggested after Adolf Müller, a 69-year-old Austrian, took his own life last year, using lethal medication.
Austria is reportedly “the last major Western country to still deny” the right to assisted suicide, The Telegraph reports.
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