By Hilary White

LONDON, September 22, 2006 ( – The Swiss suicide organization that has helped to kill at least 54 British clients and uncounted others from around Europe, is in a test case in the country’s Supreme Court arguing that people suffering from depression or who are “tired of life” should be able to legally use the facility to end their lives.

Ludwig Minelli, the founder of Dignitas, the Zurich-based organisation said his group was seeking to overturn the Swiss law that allows them to assist only people with a terminal illness.

Following in the wake of the international conference of the Right to Die movement in Toronto earlier this month, the move has come as no surprise to euthanasia opponents, who say it has always been part of the plan to make assisted suicide and euthanasia legal for anyone who wants it.

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, who attended the conference, says Minelli’s court battle is proof at last of the falsehood of the claim that the push to legalize euthanasia is about caring for people in distress.

Schadenberg said that Minelli’s request for assisted suicide for the depressed is an admission that the euthanasia/assisted suicide movement is essentially a “death on demand culture.”
  He warned that the demand for changes in the law for terminally ill people “rationally requesting a peaceful death,” are part of a larger “strategy of the death culture” and not the final goal.

“In fact euthanasia and assisted suicide have nothing to do with terminal illness or rational choices, but rather a demand for an unfettered ability to commit suicide,” Schadenberg said. “What Minelli is admitting is that people should have the right to suicide assistance, even if they can’t rationally consent or they aren’t terminal,” he concluded.
  At the World Federation of Right to Die international conference in Toronto a debate was held on strategy between Canadian Derek Humphrey – considered a “radical” even among euthanasia campaigners – and Dr. Rob Jonquière of the Netherlands. Dr. Jonquière was opposed to the radical strategy of Derek Humphrey pushing for legalization on the grounds that it added to public suspicion as to the overall agenda.

Jonquière argued that a subtler method will be to have euthanasia legalized in the Netherlands for people who are “tired of living,” using the language of compassion and caring.
  Following the movement’s strong anti-Catholic sentiments, Minelli blamed “religion” for stigmatising suicide, attacking this “stupid ecclesiastical superstition” against suicide and euthanasia.

Schadenberg told that a leading theme of the Toronto conference was the movement’s hatred for Christianity and Catholicism in particular which it sees as the only credible opposition to their goals.

Minelli, speaking to a group of Liberal Democrats in England, confirmed Schadenberg’s thesis, saying, “We should see in principle suicide as a marvellous possibility given to human beings because they have a conscience . . . If you accept the idea of personal autonomy, you can’t make conditions that only terminally ill people should have this right.”

“We should accept generally the right of a human being to say, ‘Right, I would like to end my life’, without any pre-condition, as long as this person has capacity of discernment.”

A spokesman for English disability groups concurred with Schadenberg’s analysis saying, “This confirms the suspicions of many disabled people that legalising assisted suicide would be the start of a slippery slope that would lead to anyone, whatever their condition, being helped or even coerced into opting for death.”

Read coverage in the UK’s Telegraph:
  Depression is not a good reason to die

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