By Alex Schadenberg,
  Executive Director Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

BERLIN, Germany, July 8, 2008 ( – Deutche Welle reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out in the strongest terms against euthanasia in the wake of the suicide of an elderly woman.  Merkel, said that she is against “every form of assisted suicide,” regardless of the circumstances.

Merkel’s stance was echoed by Germany’s Health Minister Ulla Schmidt. “I reject this path categorically,” she said. “The correct path is to offer assistance to those who are dying instead of helping those free from terminal illness to commit suicide.”

Controversy was sparked after a 79-year-old Wurzburg woman committed suicide Saturday with the advice of former Hamburg justice senator Roger Kusch, a euthanasia proponent.

Merkel’s (CDU) party plans to introduce legislation Friday which would make involvement in assisted suicide a crime carrying a prison term of up to three years.

The German government is sensitive to the threat of euthanasia for people with disabilities due to their Nazi past, which saw the euthanasia deaths of at least 70,000 people with disabilities or mental conditions.