Austria’s Social Democratic Party (SPOe) and its conservative partner, the ÖVP, will be able to block a bill allowing assisted suicide if a three-way governing coalition that has faced difficult negotiations, the Austrian Press Agency (AFA) reported on Tuesday. The bill would be the first in the European Union to legalize assisted suicide. The OeFA suggested the coalition may block the legislation simply because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. The proposed law includes a provision that Austria would permit the use of a doctor to administer a lethal dose of drugs to terminally ill people who have agreed to end their lives.
The proposed law represents a major shift in Austrian law. Although assisted suicide is banned in Austria under Austrian Penal Code, assisted suicide has long been permitted in the small eastern European country, which is still one of the leading countries in Europe for assisted suicide. A recent poll by Stichting Vorarlberg University found that over half of Austrians would support the legalization of assisted suicide. AFA reports that the proposed law was introduced in December by the conservative interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka, and his social democrat counterpart, Thomas Zehetner.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.
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