.- The Kath.net news agency is reporting this week that the controversial Swiss organization “Dignitas”, which is dedicated to helping the terminally ill commit suicide, has established a sister association in Germany. “Dignitas Germany” was founded in Hannover on September 26 and is connected with Dignitas in Switzerland, which boasts of having helped 453 people in that country, including 253 Germans, to “die freely.”
The secretary general of the organization, Ludwig Minelli, told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper of Zurich that the group’s intention is to “spread this idea across Europe, so that people won’t have to go to Switzerland,” where assisted suicide is legally permitted. The presence of Dignitas in Germany could lead to the forced legalization of assisted suicide in that country, which up to now has prohibited the practice.
Politicians and doctors in Germany have protested the presence of Dignity and warned of the danger of accepting a movement that encourages simply getting rid of the elderly and the infirm.
According to Social Minister Ursula von Leyen, “Improved palliative care that would allow us to help people who are dying have less pain and more dignity is what we need.” Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe, President of the Federal Medical Board, said the medical establishment should always remember the phrase, “The patient has a right to a dignified death, but not to be killed.” He noted that German law prohibits assisted suicide and that the role of a doctor is to “treat pain and calm fears, thus making it possible for people to die naturally and with dignity.”