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DIGNITAS in Switzerland has not at all the same view as those who say that right-to-die-movement should not support suicide.

If we admit what the Swiss Supreme Court has ruled on November 3, 2006, that the right to decide on moment and method of a person’s own death is a part of the Right to Self-Determination, guaranteed by Article 8 paragraph 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, we should also admit that there are people who do want to end their lives from other reasons than illnesses or somatic pain.

But if we admit this fact, why shouldn’t we be able to say: I do not agree with your idea, and I would not act like you in the same situation, but – after that we have discussed together your idea and motives and after that I am persuaded that your decision has been well evaluated from your own point of view -, I do see no reason at all why we should not help you to have a risk-free and pain-free suicide.

We at DIGNITAS have made the experience that speaking this way with suicidal persons is one of the best methods to prevent suicide, if they call for help. First, we are credible, because we are able to offer an assisted suicide; suicidal people know that we do accept a well-considered suicide. This gives them the possibility to call on, discuss their idea with us – and in most cases find a better solution than death, finally.

Second: As long as suicidal people have to fear to be put in a psychiatric institution if they express their idea to put an end to their lives to third persons, there will be no opportunity to an open discussion. So, I personally tell some times audiences that – in principle – even a 19 year old boy who has lost his girlfriend has the Human Right to suicide, but: as long as I have not had the opportunity to explain to him that other mothers do also have nice girls, I would have difficulties to say that such a young man has enough capacity of discernment, and that this would be the obstacle to an assisted suicide.

We should not forget – following scientific research at the National Institute for Mental Health in Washington in the ’70s of the last century -, that of 50 suicide attempts, up to 49 normally will fail, but often with heavy consequences for the suicidal person or as well for third persons (remember the suicide attempt in a car on a railway track!), we have the obligation to search new approaches in order to prevent suicide attempts and suicides. The suicide issue is so important that we should not let the discussion to Psychiatrists.

Discussing the issue openly and being credible – because we start by saying that we will never hinder somebody to make a suicide if we can accept that in the very case death seems to be justified -, and often even paradoxical information or behavior (like explaining three working suicide methods in details, but also showing the high risks of “lonely” suicides), may have better results in prevention than restricting suicide material, forced psychiatric treatment and so on.

So we are always wondering whether these astonishing hypocrites who are fighting against the the right-to-die, claimed by an even nearly vanishing or extremely little minority (following a Swiss study just 67 out of 100’000 people who have died by circulation-, heart- or breathing-illnesses = 0.067 permille; 45 out of 1’000 people who have died by multiple sclerosis have chosen the way through the other Swiss right-to-die-society EXIT (German part of Switzerland) during eleven years 1990-2000; look to the study at GOOGLE: “748 cases of suicide . . .”), but do nothing at all in order to reduce the extremely high number of suicide attempts and lonely suicides. It is an opportunity to quote one more the German philosopher ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER (1778-1860):

“The power of early imprinted religious dogma is so enormous that they are apt to suffocate the conscience and, at last, all compassion and all humanity. If you would like to see with your own eyes and at short distance what early imprinted religion may cause, do observe the Englishmen.

Look at this nation which has been favoured first of all other nations by nature and which is endowed with reasonableness, esprit, faculty of judgment and firmness of character; look at them, deep beneath all others disparaged, even run down by their stupid church belief which makes the impression, among their remaining capabilities, of a fixed religious mania, a monomania.

They do owe all that only to the fact that their education lies in the hands of the clergy which does see that all articles of faith are imprinted yet in the earliest youth in a way which goes even to a sort of partial brain palsy and is manifested a life long in that imbecile bigotry by which even most intelligent and sophisticated people among them do accept to be de-graded and what takes us any possibility to understand them.”

———-Ludwig A. Minelli, Dignitas, Forch-Zurich, Switzerland

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