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Assisted suicide is a very controversial topic, and has not always been legal in the 6 U.S. states that it is now legal in.
Free vs. manipulated will
If the suicidal person is not acting out of his own free will, then assistance is punishable by any of a number of homicide offences that the criminal code provides for, as having "acted through another person" (§25, section 1 of the German criminal code, usually called "mittelbare Täterschaft"). Action out of free will is not ruled out by the decision to end one's life in itself; it can be assumed as long as a suicidal person "decides on his own fate up to the end [...] and is in control of the situation."
Free will cannot be assumed, however, if someone is manipulated or deceived. A classic textbook example for this, in German law, is the so-called Sirius case on which the Federal Court of Justice ruled in 1983: The accused had convinced an acquaintance that she would be re-incarnated into a better life if she killed herself. She unsuccessfully attempted suicide, leading the accused to be charged with, and eventually convicted of attempted murder. (The accused had also convinced the acquaintance that he hailed from the star Sirius, hence the name of the case).
Apart from manipulation, the criminal code states three conditions under which a person is not acting under his own free will:
1. if the person is under 14
2. if the person has "one of the mental diseases listed in §20 of the German Criminal Code"
3. a person that is acting under a state of emergency.
Under these circumstances, even if colloquially speaking one might say a person is acting of his own free will, a conviction of murder is possible.
originally posted by: dfnj2015
So good people of ATS. Time to weigh in. Do you think assisted suicide, not euthanasia (topic for another thread), is ever moral or immoral and why? And did you know it was legal in 6 states? Or am I a selfish liberal snowflake a hole?
originally posted by: eNumbra
Who are you to dare think you have a right to check out on your own terms?