On Sunday, 62 percent of residents of Vaud, Switzerland voted in favor of the initiative, which was introduced in a proposal from parliament last month.
Assisted suicide is virtually unregulated in the country, and was first permitted in the 1940’s. However, current law stipulates that the act has to be either done by the patients themselves or by others who have no involvement with their situation.
The legislation that was recently presented to citizens furthered the availability of assisted suicide by mandating that doctors and nursing home workers grant the wishes of a patient who wished to die. The only restrictions were that the patient must be deemed to have an incurable illness or injury, and must be of a sound mind to make the decision, and nursing staff are not allowed to participate in the procedure.
The associations of Vaud nursing homes and doctors supported the legislation, claiming that they did so to prevent a more broad proposal from the group Exit from being passed. Exit, an assisted suicide activist group, had reportedly wanted most limitations and boundaries removed from the law, so that assisted suicide could be performed for any reason whatsoever. It boasts that it had a part in ending the lives of 416 Swiss citizens just last year, with 55 deaths over the past decades being nursing home patients.
According to reports, the main factor among those who have chosen to end their lives in the country is the diagnosis of cancer. Neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases were also listed, with only 3 percent of assisted suicides being due to depression.
LifeNews also reported earlier this year that assisted suicide has escalated 700 percent in Switzerland over the past eleven years.
“What is ridiculous about this proposal is that many people within nursing homes already feel abandoned by their family and friends and many of them are experiencing abuse from people who they are dependent upon,” stated Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
“Switzerland has declared the intrinsic dignity of individual plants in its Constitution and makes it illegal to flush a live goldfish down the toilet,” wrote Wesley Smith in an online blog about the recent passage in Vaud. “Think about it.”
Last year, citizens in Zurich had an opportunity to vote to ban assisted suicide, but overwhelmingly rejected the motion by 84.5 percent.