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Swiss group Exit considers extending right-to-die to elderly in good health

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Swiss group Exit considers extending right-to-die to elderly in good health
Michaeljung/Depositphotos
10:25 CEST+02:00
Exit, the Switzerland-based organization that helps those with incurable illnesses to end their lives, has commissioned a working group to look into the possibility of extending its remit to help elderly people who are still in good health but want to die.
At the moment, Exit offers its services to those who have a terminal illness, a debilitating disease that brings intolerable suffering, or multiple age-related debilitating disabilities. 
 
On Saturday Saskia Frei, president of the German-speaking arm of the organization, announced it would fund a working group to look into extending Exit’s services to healthy elderly people who wish to die, reported news agencies
 
Over the course of a year the commission will examine the ethical, legal and political issues surrounding extending assisted suicide to healthy people. 
 
When the report is concluded Exit will decide if it should take steps in that direction. 
 
The working group was set up in response to demands from a committee that included several Exit members aged 70 or older.
 
According to the committee, it is currently too difficult for elderly people who are tired of life to get access to assisted suicide.
 
 
Last year a study carried out by Exit showed that two thirds of the over 50s in German-speaking Switzerland had considered resorting to euthanasia to end their lives when the time comes. 
 
Following the study, Exit called for the process to be simplified, and for doctors to be given the right to prescribe a mortal dose of a drug to assist suicide.
 
Switzerland is one of the few countries in the world where assisted suicide is legal, as long as the person assisting receives no financial benefit from it – hence, ‘end-of-life' workers at Exit are unpaid volunteers.
 
Founded in 1982, Exit only offers its services to members, who must be Swiss or have permanent residency in Switzerland.
 
A second Swiss organization, Dignitas, also provides assisted suicide services to non-Swiss who live outside the country. 
 
Dignitas also only currently offers the service to those who are terminally ill, are suffering unendurable pain or have an unendurable disability.
 

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