At some point, you’ve heard the name of assisted suicide. It’s a legal form of suicide, that is performed with the help of medical professionals. Most places in the world have banned it, for ethical or religious reasons. But there is one country where assisted suicide is legal and that’s Switzerland.
Currently, Switzerland has 6 different right-to-die organizations, 4 of which willingly accept patients who live outside the country. One of those organizations is called “Dignitas” to live with dignity, to die with dignity.
It was founded in 1988, and since then, it has helped assist in the suicides of over 1,000 people in Zurich. But as far as assisted suicide goes, it’s relatively new-the practice has been legal in Switzerland since 1942.
In Switzerland, assisted suicide is considered a legitimate way to end your life. Many foreigners travel to Switzerland to take their own lives with the assistance of an organization.
Few states in the US do legally allow physician-assisted suicide including Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont, and California but Switzerland is unique because it's one of the few countries with no national laws against it.
Many citizens from other countries cross over into Switzerland to end their lives. In 2011, a proposed ban of this practice of "suicide tourism" was rejected by popular vote in the canton of Zürich with a 78% majority.
In Switzerland assisting suicide is not a crime. For a Swiss doctor to support assisted suicide by providing a prescription for a lethal medication, the person must be suffering intolerably from a severe illness, and have a medical diagnosis which is documented by doctors and/or clinicians reports. However, there is no requirement for the illness to be “terminal”, nor for any life expectancy limit such as being expected to die within 6 months.
The average age of someone seeking assisted suicide, was 69 years old, ranging from 23 up to 97.and women, they found were 40% more likely to choose assisted suicide than men.
A total of 742 assisted suicides (320 men, 422 women) had been recorded, or 1.2% of deaths in the resident population of Switzerland. This amounts to an increase of more than 250% compared to 2009; while the total suicide rate has been declining since the 1980s, assisted suicides have increased significantly since 2000.
In 94% of cases, the people opting for assisted suicide were above 55 years of age, and in the majority of cases, they were suffering from a terminal disease (42% cancer, 14% neurodegeneration (e.g. Parkinson's), 11% cardiovascular diseases, 10% musculoskeletal disorders). The rate was highest in the canton of Zürich (1.4% of deaths), followed by Geneva (1.3%).