The Slovenia Times

Enough signatures collected to table assisted dying bill

Health & Medicine
Photo: Domen Grögl/STA

Silver Thread, an association campaigning for dignified old age, has collected the required 5,000 signatures to submit a bill on assisted suicide to the National Assembly well before the deadline.

In its announcement on 5 June, the association said it expected the considerable support for the bill to send a clear message to decision-makers in the National Assembly.

The signature collecting campaign will continue until 22 June, when the 60-day deadline expires.

The legislative proposal would legalise assisted suicide for adults enduring unbearable suffering when neither medicine nor palliative care can help them any more and there is no hope of improvement or recovery.

The proposal explicitly rules out assisted dying in the case of acute mental disorders. It foresees a compulsory psychiatric opinion on the patient and their ability to decide for themselves and the presence of a psychiatrist during the final act of assisted dying.

"Three opinion polls over a period of one and a half years have confirmed majority public support, regardless of gender, age, education or place of residence, and only marginally dependent on political and world views. This confirms that the vast majority of people want a death without suffering," the NGO said in a press release.

The NGO stressed that the bill, if passed, would not mean an alternative to palliative care, instead, it would aim to promote the development of end-of-life care.

The NGO believes that the proposal's many safeguards would make it impossible to abuse assisted dying, but the bill has many opponents, including the Medical Chamber, the Health Ministry's Medical Ethics Commission, and the Slovenian Bishops' Conference.

The Left is the only of the five parliamentary parties to have expressed its support for the bill, which has already seen a strong backlash from some groups and is threatening to divide the public.


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