The Exit Approach to Assisted Dying
Exit supports the Swiss approach to Assisted Dying/ Assisted Suicide/ Voluntary Euthanasia.
In Switzerland anyone may assist another to die, as long as their motives are altruistic.
There are 2 safeguards to this practice.
- The person must have mental capacity
- The action (that will bring about the death) must be done by the person themselves.
Assisted dying has been a safe, lawful practice in Switzerland since 1937.
Our philosophy at Exit is that every adult of sound mind has the right to seek and receive information about, and make plans for, their end of their life.
Exit believes that control over one’s life & death to be a fundamental human right.
Exit believes that the vast majority of right to die laws around the world are too restrictive.
This restrictive nature means that these laws help very few people.
Such laws serve to alienate those who are most vulnerable: those who slip between the strictest of strict qualification criteria – those who are not terminally ill by definition, the elderly and couples who wish to go together.
Exit believes that medical criteria laws are the wrong way to approach the end of life choices / rights debate.
Dutch Political – Legal History
In 1991 the former Dutch Supreme Court Judge, Huib Drion, famously called for all elderly people of sound mind to be able to choose the time and place of their death.
Drion called for this political change despite the effective operation of the Dutch Right to Termination upon Request Act of 2002.
The Dutch courts have recently (Dec 2022) acknowledged that the law is narrow and excludes many people.
However they have refrained, at least at this point, from broadening euthanasia laws in this country.
See discussion of the case brought by CLW for the latest on this push.
Huib Drion in The Hague, 2004
To provide up to date, accurate end of life information to elderly people of sound mind regardless of where they may live.
1. Individual rights
Exit supports an adult of sound mind’s right to:
- receive information about their end of life choices
- act on this information in order achieve a peaceful death at a time of their choosing
- accept or reject the involvement of the medical professional at the end-of-life, including palliative care
- request & be granted assistance with suicide if necessary or desired.
Exit rejects religious-based arguments that a person’s life belongs to God.
2. Information Provision
Exit provides accurate and up-to-date information on end of life options to its members and readers of the Peaceful Pill Handbook.
3. Individual Empowerment
Our philosophy at Exit supports an individual’s right to procure drugs & equipment for end-of-life purposes.
Exit does not provide individuals with illegal drugs or equipment (Exit only provides information).
Exit offers membership on an annual or lifetime subscription basis for people over 50 or who are suffering from serious illness.
For those under 50 years, membership is granted at the discretion of Exit International.
Membership of Exit shows members’ commitment and support the right to control one’s end of life.
5. Appropriate Checks
Our philosophy at Exit also requires that Exit makes reasonable efforts to ensure that members who attend workshops have decision-making capacity including requesting photo ID. Exit also requires every workshop attendee to complete and sign a disclaimer form.
6. Regulatory Reform & Objective Debate
Exit supports the Swiss model of assisted dying laws which are not based on strict medical criteria. (Read more in the Peaceful Pill Handbook).
Exit supports objective public debate on voluntary euthanasia, assisted suicide & rational suicide to ensure individual rights are upheld & vulnerable members of the community are kept safe.
Voluntary Euthanasia – Definition
Voluntary euthanasia is a deliberate act intended to cause the death of an individual, at that individual’s request, for what he or she sees as being in his or her best interests. Our use of the term voluntary euthanasia includes reference to: VAD – voluntary assisted dying, MAID – medical aid in dying, PAS – physician assisted suicide and so on …
Rational Suicide – Definition
Rational suicide is the unassisted but well considered death of a mentally competent adult who may or may not be suffering from a serious medical illness.