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Early projections after a referendum in Switzerland indicate that Swiss voters in Zurich have turned down a proposal to ban assisted suicide. Approximately 200 people commit assisted suicide in Zurich annually, a significant number of them are foreigners who come in from abroad to end their lives.
It appears that voters are heavily in favor of keeping things as they are. Since 1941 assisted suicide has been legal in the country if the person involved in helping is a non-doctor and has no personal or vested interest in the result of the procedure.
In Switzerland, assisted suicide refers only to providing the means; it does not include actively helping the person carry it out. You can provide the patient with the medication, but you cannot administer it to them.
Dignitas, an organization that helps people end their lives, says it has had over 1,000 clients from abroad. Exit, another organization, will only deal with Swiss residents.
ZURICH (AP) -- Voters in Zurich have overwhelmingly rejected calls to ban assisted suicide or to outlaw the practice for nonresidents.
Zurich's cantonal voters by about a 4-to-1 margin Sunday defeated both measures that had been pushed by political and religious conservatives.
Out of more than 278,000 ballots cast, the initiative to ban assisted suicide was opposed by 85 percent of voters and the initiative to outlaw it for foreigners was turned down by 78 percent, according to Zurich authorities.
Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, and has been since 1941, provided the helper isn't a medical doctor and doesn't personally benefit from a patient's death. About 200 people a year commit suicide in Zurich.
"It's everybody's own decision. It must be allowed - they do it anyway," said Felix Gutjahr, a Zurich voter who opposed the ballot initiatives.
Although most Swiss voters are in favor of assisted suicide, they are not happy with the term suicide tourism. Many individuals from neighboring countries, and further afield, where the practice is illegal, come to Switzerland to die - a situation that makes the locals feel uneasy, according Swiss media.
One of the proposals which Swiss voters appear to have rejected would have made it a requirement that any client would have to have been a resident in the Zurich area for at least 12 months. The proposal was put forward by the Evangelical People's Party and the Federal Democratic Union. However, the main parties advised Swiss voters to reject it.
The projected result of the referendum reflects a deep respect among the Swiss for an individual's right to decide when and how to die.
Originally posted by UberL33t
I understand it on some levels and then there are parts of me that negate it on others. I most definitely think that the "walk a mile in another man's shoes" holds true in that if I were faced with a debilitating disease that riddled me with pain and there was nothing further that could be done medically then I can see how putting oneself out on one's own misery should be an available alternative.
However, and without knowing the particulars of the process in Switzerland, I wonder if there is a chance that the profitability will in some cases out-weigh the need to self terminate. It leaves room for these facilities that provide the service to lean more on persuasion to do so.
I do hope there is a vigorous counseling mechanism in place via an unbiased party.
That is not our responsibility. We merely offer the option for assisted suicide.
People like me can try and disuade them but ultimately it is their own decision.