Proposal put forward to legalise assisted death

Ljubljana – Srebrna Nit, an association campaigning for dignified old age, has drawn up a bill to legalise assisted death in Slovenia. The proposal will first be subject to a six-month public consultation, after which it will be amended and submitted to parliament, backed by 5,000 signatures.

“Most of us would like to have a peaceful death. But death can also involve suffering, associated with slow dying and a loss of personal dignity,” Biserka Marolt Meden, the head of the NGO, told reporters on Thursday.

Referring to the practice of assisted death being increasingly established world-wide in a bid to protect the individual’s dignity, the NGO said their proposal would only permit assisted suicide, while euthanasia would only be possible as an exception.

The proposal would enable adults to pick the time and place of their death themselves, on the condition that they experience unbearable suffering that cannot be eased in a way they find acceptable.

It also contains safeguards to prevent abuse and no one’s life could be ended against their will. The whole procedure would be overseen by a special commission at the Health Ministry, explained Andrej Pleterski, one of the founding members of Srebrna Nit.

Pleterski said a survey conducted by the Medical Association a while ago showed enough doctors would be willing to take part in such a procedure if assisted death was legalised.

Adults with permanent residence in Slovenia and mandatory health insurance would be entitled to assisted death. The service would be provided by providers in the public healthcare network, either public or private practices with concession.

The proposal would not make it possible to resort to assisted death in case of life weariness and the patient would be able to change their mind about being helped to die at any time.