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European court: right to commit suicide is among human rights

January 24, 2011

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the “respect for private life” found in the European Convention of Human Rights includes the right of individuals to choose freely to commit suicide. The court also ruled that nations are not obliged to provide individuals with the means to commit suicide.

Ernst Haas, a Swiss citizen suffering from bipolar disorder, had filed suit after numerous psychiatrists had refused to write him a prescription for a drug that would end his life.


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  • Posted by: happyseaotter8027 - Jan. 26, 2011 3:14 PM ET USA

    I can understand martyrdom, but that is dying for a cause. As the wife of a man who took his own life in a particulary horrible way (and considered taking our unborn son's life along with mine) I would like to say that suicide is taking the easy way out. It causes immense psychological damage to those who find the body and those who remain behind. I see no dignity in it. It negates almost every good that one has done. It spits in God's face and throws His gift back at Him. I hate it!!!!!

  • Posted by: bnewman - Jan. 25, 2011 9:57 PM ET USA

    I see this as another step in the disintegration of societal moral norms. Modern thinkers have been unable to come up with a persuasive atheist moral theory which can answer the question; “Why should I be moral?” Their present moral intuitions are cultural fragments from an earlier Christian age. In a post-Christian society, like Europe, one by one, these fragments disappear. What reason could an atheist possibly give as to why any person should not commit suicide if he wanted to?

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Jan. 24, 2011 8:20 PM ET USA

    There may be a statement favoring “respect for private life” in the Convention, but I doubt very much there' is any mention of a “respect for private DEATH” which is a very different matter. Despair is the worst sin, and suicide is its logical conclusion. To abandon anyone to despair is a supreme act of selfishness, and condemns us all to reap what we sow. Is it mere coincidence that we hear of this decision today?

  • Posted by: Defender - Jan. 24, 2011 7:42 PM ET USA

    It's only a matter of time before there will be a push for this on our side of the Atlantic. What have we become?

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Jan. 24, 2011 7:12 PM ET USA

    Pius XI knew that things would come to this when he wrote in "Quas Primas" that without God and Jesus Christ as a foundation human society was "tottering to its fall." Unless rights come from God they are simply arbitrary and ever shifting. Today it is the right to suicide tomorrow the right to do medical experiments on people. It rests on nothing except the ever shifting opinions of the day. Europe-former Christendom--is approximating hell more and more each year.

  • Posted by: rpp - Jan. 24, 2011 6:42 PM ET USA

    This is nothing less than monstrous. The only thing mitigating this, and I suspect that is only temporary, is their statements that countries are not obligated to help someone, in this case a mentally ill man, to means for self destruction.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 24, 2011 9:47 AM ET USA

    Good grief. Even the pagan Socrates knew that suicide was wrong, comparing it to a soldier deserting his post without orders from his superiors (in this case, the gods).