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A Suicide Right for the Mentally Ill? A Swiss Case Opens a New Debate Empowering the mentally ill, or surrendering to the disease?

Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1918. Now, a recent decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court threatens to undermine yet another longstanding taboo in the debate over assisted suicide and euthanasia. In a ruling on November 3, 2006, the high tribunal in Lausanne laid out guidelines under which, for the first time, assisted suicide will be available to psychiatric patients and others with mental illness.

Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1918. Now, a recent decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court threatens to undermine yet another longstanding taboo in the debate over assisted suicide and euthanasia. In a ruling on November 3, 2006, the high tribunal in Lausanne laid out guidelines under which, for the first time, assisted suicide will be available to psychiatric patients and others with mental illness.

Jacob M. Appel, “A Suicide Right for the Mentally Ill? A Swiss Case Opens a New Debate,” Hastings Center Report 37, no. 3 (2007): 21-23.