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16 April 2013
The Unitarian and Free Christian Churches support the Right to Die
The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches held 11 – 14 April 2013 agreed the following resolution:
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, recognising the worth and dignity of all people and their freedom to believe as their consciences dictate, believes that:
1) any individual who faces an intolerable existence because of a debilitating and/or incurable physical condition should have the right to seek support for the termination of their life in a painless and dignified manner
2) legislation should respect their choice and allow them compassionate assistance in achieving such a death without fear of prosecution of anyone involved
Dignitas is delighted to have the support of the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches in our aim to enhance freedom of choice in 'the last human right'. Hopefully soon, no Briton needs to seek freedom in Switzerland anymore but may choose to have a self-determined and dignified end in life in the presence of loved ones at his or her own home.
Website of the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (Link)
1 November 2012
Self-determination in the view of Europeans: The Swiss Medical Lawyers Association (SMLA) asked the renowned research institute ISOPUBLIC to carry out an extensive opinion poll, which analysed the position of the population in twelve European States on the issue of self-determination at the end of life
Website of the SMLA (Link)
Results of the opinion poll (PDF)
23 January 2012 / 1 May 2012
In Scotland, parliament member Margo Mac Donald lodged a proposal for a Bill, the „Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bil", to enable a competent adult with a terminal illness or condition to request assistance to end their own life, and to decriminalise certain actions taken by others to provide such assistance.
A consultation was held until 30 April 2012.
The proposed Bill includes elements of the practice of accompanied suicides in Switzerland as well as of the „Death with Dignity Act” of the US-State of Oregon.
Website of the Scottish Parliament with consultation document (Link)
Response/submission of DIGNITAS to the consultation (PDF)
5 January 2012
In England, The Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by Lord Falconer and launched in November 2010, has published its final report
Website of the Commission on Assisted Dying (Link)
Submission of DIGNITAS to the Commission (PDF)
Final Report of the Commission on Assisted Dying (Link)
15 October 2011
A message from Samantha - who allowed us to publish it here:
From: Sam D. [mailto:
Sent: Saturday, 8 October 2011 04:22
Subject: I don't know if you will read this or not but I just have a question…
Hello.. i'm hoping you speak english.. i came across your articles today because i am feeling utterly hopeless and think your view on assisted suicide for the mentally ill is phenomenal. I know a lot of people are against it and even think the thought of it is ridiculous.
If a person with severe depression is wanting to die and has tried literally everything (medication, therapy, holistic approaches, etc.) they should be able to have control of their own life. If I am just going to continue to try to kill myself why shouldn’t i be able to have help. If there is no help for the victim and all opportunities have been explored then why should i have to continue to suffer in agony.
Do i want to live in a hospital for the rest of my life? no... Do i want to be sedated and on like 5 different medications for the rest of my life? no. Tell me, how is that living.. nobody wants to live like that in constant pain and agony. I apologize for the horrid grammar but i just do not have the will to even use punctuation. I’ve been suffering for 10 years... do i deserve to suffer for the rest of my life?
You shed light on mental illness and i applaud you. That is all.
If you read my email i thank you greatly,
16 May 2011
The association „DIGNITAS – to live with dignity – to die with dignity“ expresses its heartfelt gratitude, in the name of all those individuals who need help today and in future, to the Zürich voters for their clear and liberal position in questions of assistance in dying, as expressed in the results of the vote of May 15, 2011. At the same time, DIGNITAS admonishes the authorities on federal and cantonal level to pay at last attention to the protection of human life where it is vulnerable to an exceptionally high degree.
Already in 2002, the Swiss Federal Council (the Swiss Government) explained that the yearly number of suicides in Switzerland counts up to 67.000 [see footnote 1] (which compares to the size of the population of cities like Luzern or St. Gallen or even to one third of the Canton of Basel-Stadt!). The number of suicide attempts is thus fifty times higher than the number of statistically registered suicides. Despite a postulate [see footnote 2] introduced by national council member Hans Widmer (SP, LU), the government did not undertake any actions to finally establish an effective suicide-attempt prophylaxis. Instead, since 2002, the government and the majority of the media depicted the justified and through associations carefully accompanied suicides in an impertinent, hyped and distorted way; entirely in ignorance of the real attitude of the large majority of the population.
DIGNITAS regards it as imperative to finally complement the efforts so far of preventing inconsiderate suicides (suicide prophylaxis) by a carefully thought-of policy of preventing suicide attempts (suicide-attempt prophylaxis).
 Answer of the Swiss Federal Council (Swiss Government) dated January 9, 2002, to the question of Andreas Gross regarding suicide and suicides attempts; www.parlament. ch/d/suche/seiten/geschaefte.aspx?gesch_id=20011105 (in German and French)
 Postulate Widmer, dated June 13, 2002, regarding suicide prevention; www.parlament. ch/D/Suche/Seiten/geschaefte.aspx?gesch_id=20023251 (in German and French)
Results of the vote according to the office of statistis of the Canton of Zürich
A quick glance into the media (Links):
swissinfo: Zurich voters reject ban on "suicide tourism"
Chicago Tribune: Zurich voters overwhelmingly decide to keep assisted suicide, reject ban on 'suicide tourism'
Irish Times: Voters reject suicide aid ban
The Independent: Swiss vote to continue assisted suicide
BBC News Europe: Zürich votes to keep assisted suicide
Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Absage an die Moralisten
Swiss Television DRS, Schweiz aktuell (starting at 08:00 minutes)
Tages Anzeiger: «Die Sektenbrüder wurden weggefegt»
Ärzte Zeitung: Bürger in Zürich lehnen Stopp der Sterbehilfe ab
Zürcher Oberländer: Deutliche Abfuhr für Sterbehilfe-Initiativen
frei denken: Klares Bekenntnis zur Sterbehilfe muss Vorgabe für EJPD sein
Blick: Weiterhin Sterbehilfe im Kanton Zürich
Swiss Television DRS, Tagesschau: Interview with Ludwig A. Minelli
tsr info.ch: Les Zurichois refusent de limiter l'aide au suicide
Der Tagesspiegel: Abstimmung über Sterbehilfe in der Schweiz
Vedic Views on World News: Swiss say no to euthanasia restrictions
Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Klares Signal nach Bern
Freidenker-Vereinigung der Schweiz: Stopp dem religiösen Fundamentalismus
Swiss Television DRS: Ein Signal nach Bundesbern
20 April 2011
On 17 April 2011, an article entitled “Who is to judge which lives are worth living?” written by Barbara Ellen appeared in “The Observer”. Following is what two members of DIGNI- TAS wrote to the editor, whereby giving permission to DIGNITAS to publish their letter:
From: G.S. Burnett & M. Svanderlik
Sent: 18 April 2011 13:24:24
Subject: Letters to the Editor
We must assume that Barbara Ellen ('Who is to judge which lives are worth living?') is not stupid; in which case, her thoughtless piece on assisted suicide is a disgrace to a serious newspaper and certainly no useful contribution to what is an important, contemporary debate. Ms Ellen confuses the issue by using the term, 'euthanasia' (literally "a good death") which, while technically encompassing both what we would call 'mercy killing' and 'assisted suicide', is commonly understood to mean the former, the termination of the life of another, in extremis, but without consent. This is highly tendentious and pollutes the current debate, which is principally about people's right to die when they choose, and to receive any necessary assistance to this end. To our knowledge, Terry Pratchett has never said or written anything that categorises the lives of others as "not worth living" and therefore eligible for termination. To associate his name with such a view is to vilify a wonderful writer with a fearful disease who is nobly and altruistically campaigning for the rights of others like him to end their days with dignity, at a time of their own choosing.
In imagining herself with "something nasty" (how belittling this is as a description of Alzheimer's Disease, as if it were diarrhoea or a boil) Ms Ellen opines: "The hope is that I'll choose." Exactly so. That is only what all the leaders of the current campaign are seeking: an individual's right to choose the point of his or her own death - acknowledged by the European Court of Human Rights, as recently as January this year, as an inalienable 'human right'. No-one is crusading for the introduction of mercy killing.
And to refer, en passant, to Ludwig Minelli, the prime mover behind DIGNITAS, as a "ghoul" is to defame a gentle, elderly lawyer who has given up what should have been his years of retirement and repose, to try to help relieve the appalling suffering of others. He is not a ghoul but an angel of compassion.
Ms Ellen's witless scaremongering has no place in The Observer; we suggest you point her in the direction of the Daily Mail or The Sun, where her ill-informed and odious posturing will seem less conspicuous.
G.S. Burnett & M. Svanderlik
Proud, fully paid-up UK members of DIGNITAS