Table 2 Assisted suicide and euthanasia in six European countries: target group (bold) of legislation or proposed bills
Target group of (proposed) legislationAccording to statutory regulation or proposed legislation
Belgiumdoctors onlyAct Concerning Euthanasia, May 2002: Conditional decriminalisation of euthanasia performed by a physician*
Germanynot specifiedNon-penalty of assisted suicide holds for everyone†
The Netherlandsdoctors onlyReview Procedure Act, April 2002: exemption for doctors from penalty of assisted suicide and killing on request
Norwaynot specifiedPenal Code Commission, minority proposal, no mention of doctors; rejected in May 2005 by the Norwegian Parliament
Switzerlandnot specifiedNon-penalty of assisted suicide without motives of self-interest holds for everyone
United Kingdomdoctors onlyAssisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill targeted at doctors only; rejected in May 2006 by the House of Lords
  • Unless specified, all statements refer to both assisted suicide and euthanasia. Italics: bill/proposal

  • * The legal status of (physician-) assisted suicide — not regulated by the euthanasia law — is unclear.

  • † Physician-assisted suicide may legally conflict with a doctor’s obligation to save life (“Garantenpflicht”). Current legal developments aim at exempting doctors from a particular “Garantenpflicht”.