The Austrian Constitutional Court ordered the country’s government to develop legal provisions regarding the so-called euthanasia. Doctors fear that the new law could put pressure on doctors or even oblige them to kill patients at their request.
In December 2020, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that the national government should draft a law dealing with so-called assisted suicide. The deadline is until the end of 2021. It is not known whether the government will honor this commitment; However, some doctors fear that these rules will not have a dramatic effect on freedom of conscience in Austria.
A statement on this matter was presented by the Salzburg Forum of Physicians for Life. According to the statement, future regulations should make it clear that killing patients is not the responsibility of doctors. The task of doctors is not “to kill people or actively shorten their lives – neither by direct actions, nor by the support provided to them.”
Doctors should do everything in their power to heal and save, and killing people completely contradicts this principle, the doctors stressed. Doctors require appropriate reassurances for non-binding patient killing support for both hospitals and nursing homes.
Every Austrian should be guaranteed the right to reject a patient’s request for assistance in murder or suicide.
The doctors also called on the Austrian authorities to amend the constitution.
In their opinion, the constitution should include a ban on the so-called killing on demand, that is, the universal right to demand death.
According to doctors, only a constitutional change guarantees that in the future the Austrian Constitutional Court will not impose on the authorities the obligation to introduce regulations that legitimize this type of practice.