Unlike active euthanasia (killing on request) which the majority of the population would not forbid but also does not support, many people in Germany declared themselves in favor of the possibility of medical participation in the voluntarily chosen suicide. Also, a third of the German medical professionals can imagine their participation under certain circumstances. What is so interesting regarding the debate on the medically guided and supported suicide, is the fact that it leads the way out of the ideological controversy between self-determination on the one hand, and the religious interpretations of creation and life as a gift, on the other, and opens up the view to the actual goal of the debates on the “freedom to die“: the improvement of the medical, as a rule palliative, care of dying patients in a trustworthy dialogue-based relationship toward caretaker, doctor and family member/caregiver. It is my conviction that the freedom to die can and should be realized as self-determination in a dialogue.
Dr. Andreas Poltermann: Director Belgrade Office, Heinrich Boell Stiftung. Before that he was Director Division of Political Education of Heinrich Boell Foundation, Berlin. Heinrich Boell Foundation is the German Political Foundation which is closely affiliated to the German Greens.
He studied German Literature, History, Philosophy and Political Science at Göttingen University. After earning his doctoral degree with a book on Immanuel Kant’s Philosophy of Law in 1984, he was member of the National Research Center on Literary Translation at Göttingen University from 1985 to 1994. Since then he is working at Heinrich Boell Foundation.