Christian nursing home forced to allow assisted suicide in Switzerland

A Christian nursing home in Switzerland has been ordered by the Federal Court to allow assisted suicide to take place on its premises.

The home, which belongs to The Salvation Army, had previously contested a Swiss law that allows assisted suicide to take place in charitable institutions, if requested by a patient.

They challenged the legislation, saying that it conflicted with their religious beliefs and violated their freedom of conscience.


Last week, federal judges rejected their complaint and said the law allows individuals to decide how and when they want to die.

Judges said the only way the care home could avoid complying with the law was by giving up its charitable status.

Earlier this year, judges in Belgium fined a Roman Catholic care home for refusing to euthanise a 74-year-old woman.

The rest home in Diest was ordered to pay €6,000 after it prevented doctors from giving Mariette Buntjens, a lung cancer sufferer, a lethal injection.


Last year in the UK, an assisted suicide Bill was rejected by MPs in the House of Commons by 330 votes to 118.

The result came following pressure from disabled rights groups, the medical profession, a number of charities and religious leaders.

Serious concerns had been raised that legalising assisted suicide would pressurise the sick, elderly and vulnerable into ending their lives for fear of being a burden.

‘Dangerously naïve’

Dr Stephen Hutchison, a consultant physician in palliative medicine, has previously warned that there is international evidence for a “slippery slope” which occurs when assisted suicide is legalised.

He said: “The relaxation of criteria and disregard for the law as seen elsewhere is almost certain to be replicated here if assisted suicide was to be legalised. To argue otherwise is dangerously naïve.”

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