October 24, 2021
Austria’s Proposed Law Disses On its Constitutional Court Ruling
Despite the country’s highest court asserting that the right to die well is a fundamental human right, Austria’s Proposed Law Disses On its Constitutional Court Ruling.
Agence France Presse have report that Austria’s government on Saturday set out its plans for legalizing assisted suicide from 2022 in response to a court ruling which found that the current ban violated fundamental rights.
In December 2020 the constitutional court ordered the government to lift the existing ban on assisted dying, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.
According to a summary of the proposed legislation from the justice ministry, adults who are terminally ill or suffer from a permanent and debilitating condition will be able to access help with ending their own lives.
Austria’s Proposed Law Disses On its Constitutional Court Ruling by insisting that two doctors will have to assess each case, one of whom will have to be qualified in palliative medicine.
Among their duties will be to determine whether the patient is capable of coming to the decision independently.
In addition, at least 12 weeks will have to pass before access is granted to make sure euthanasia is not being sought due to a temporary crisis.
This period will be shortened to two weeks for patients in the “terminal phase” of an illness.
The proposals will now be subject to scrutiny by experts before coming to parliament, where MPs are expected to approve them before the end of 2021. If no new regulation were to be in place by the end of 2021 the existing ban on assisted dying would simply lapse, leaving the practice unregulated.
The Bishop of Innsbruck Hermann Glettler said that the proposals were a “sensitive and responsible” way of trying to conform with the constitutional court’s ruling and welcomed the fact that they also include plans to boost funding for palliative care. However, he said further safeguards should be added to the process patients will have to go through.