.- Since the death of 41-year-old Florida woman Terri Schiavo March 31, debates on the ethics of euthanasia have come to the foreground in Austria and Germany, says a recent report by the Associated Press. In countries still struggling with the horrors of Hitler’s Nazi regime, where 75,000 people with disabilities or otherwise deemed unfit were used for brutal medical experiments and killed, the Schiavo case made news headlines for days. Survivors of these Nazi experiments say no one has the right to play God.
Neither country is considering euthanasia laws, but both are debating living wills.
Germany’s Social Democrats want to strengthen the rights of patients with living wills. But a parliamentary commission wants to limit them and allow families and doctors to overrule them in some cases.
In predominantly Catholic Austria, euthanasia is illegal. However, the treatment a suffering person receives is often left to the doctors and is rarely discussed openly, Peter Kampits, dean of the philosophy and education department at the University of Vienna, told the AP.
With the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, the experiments on children are being remembered in two exhibits in Vienna. A special ceremony will also mark the day three years ago that Vienna's government finally buried the brains of the 5,000 children killed by the Nazis at Spiegelgrund. The organs had been preserved during the war for medical research.