Assisted suicide


January 19, 2022

Assisted suicide means assisting a person in suicide when that person wants it but is unable to do so on his or her own because of his or her physical weakness. Assistance in suicide may take the form of, for example, poisoning a person who wishes to commit suicide, but it may also involve other activities. The difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia is that in euthanasia, one person ends a life that wishes to commit suicide on behalf of the other. Assisted suicide is treated differently in different cultures and religions. In Catholicism, for example, suicide is considered a sin. On the other hand, groups have emerged that regard the right to die as a human right. Country-specific laws see assisted suicide from many different perspectives, so there are different regulations. Legality by country There is no legislation or case law in Finland on assisting in suicide. The position of the Medical Association is that assisting in suicide can lead to disciplinary proceedings. On the other hand, the Finnish Medical Association also considers that it is not necessary to criminalize the provision of suicide if it leads to possible problematic situations for those who have committed suicide. Assisting in suicide is prohibited in Norway, but less reprehensible than euthanasia. In Denmark and the United Kingdom, the measure is completely banned. Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal if it does not involve selfish motives. For example, more permissive legislation in Switzerland has led people from other countries to travel to the Dignitas clinic in Zurich, established in 1998, to commit assisted suicide. Assisted suicide in Austria became legal in early 2022.


Ethical guidelines for physicians Lecture, Finnish Theological Institute, Pekka Reinikainen, 2004.


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