Germany: Federal Administrative Court declares euthanasia legal in “extreme and exceptional cases”

Bad MedicineThe creeping progress of the Culture of Death has made an important leap forward in Germany, where the Bundesverwaltungsgericht (BVerwG, Federal Administrative Court) issued a decision that declares euthanasia to be legal in “extreme and exceptional cases”, without defining them. This opens the door to a new slippery slope, at the bottom of which one surely will discover that every case is somehow “extreme” and “exceptional”.

The BVerwG is the supreme instance in all appeals against decisions of the public administration. Its decisions are in principle still subject to the control of the Constitutional Court (BVG); in the case at hand, however, it is unlikely that an appeal to the BVG will be filed, given that the plaintiff has obtained the judgment he has been seeking.

The decision concerns a case in which a woman had been seeking official permission to purchase a lethal poison to kill herself, as was suffering from an allegedly unbearable disease. The permission was denied, and the woman instead travelled to Switzerland, where she was “euthanized” by an organization called “Dignitas”.

Her widower then launched a judicial crusade, in which he claimed that the prohibition to buy poison for the purpose of euthanasia was unconstitutional. However, the German judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, declared his action inadmissible: he lacked locus standi, given that it was not he, but his late wife, who had been denied the possibility of buying poison.

It was only thanks to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which is notoriously supportive of “liberal agendas such as baby-murdering, child trafficking, sodomy, and – as it now appears – euthanasia, that the case has now been overturned. The ECtHR found in 2012 that the plaintiff’s right to respect for his private life (Art. 8 ECHR) had been violated by the court decisions that had set obstacles to his wife’s intended euthanasia.

The case therefore had to be heard another time. This time the lower instances did hear the case, but found that the denial of a right to buy poison for “euthanasia” purposes had been legal, as German law prohibits euthanasia. This has now been overturned.

In November 2015, the German Federal Diet had adopted a new law to prohibit providing assistance to another person’s suicide, which until then had been legal in Germany. However, the law deliberately concerns only the provision of such assistance “on a commercial scale”, thus leaving open a loophole for “non-commercial” suicide assistance.