According to the bioethics website BioEdge, the German physicians association has voted by a wide margin to keep its ban on assisting in suicides. To read the article in parentheses below on the BioEdge website go to http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/9615/.
After a heated debate German doctors have voted to maintain a ban on doctors assisting patients who wish to commit suicide. The vote was convincing: 166 against 56, with 7 abstentions. The president of the Federal Medical Council, Joerg-Dietrich Hoppe, declared: “Physicians must assist the dying, while respecting their dignity and respecting their intentions. But they are forbidden to kill patients at their request. You must not assist a suicide. “
Dr Hoppe indicated that cases of physician-assisted suicide are rare and a few months ago he apparently suggested that if doctors assisted in good conscience without any qualms, “we would not break a stick over their heads”. However, the professional code is binding and violations could potentially lead to deregistration. The World Federation of Right to Die Societies had foreshadowed a change in policy; its blog described the decision as “an unpleasant surprise” (http://www.tagesschau.de/inland/sterbehilfe134.html)