New analysis shows that suicide tourism in Switzerland doubled between 2009 and 2012.
Six official voluntary right-to-die organisations are active in Switzerland, four of which offer assisted suicide (AS) to people from other countries. The six organisations assist in approximately 600 cases of suicide per year, some 150–200 of which are suicide tourists, nearly all with Dignitas in Zurich.
The research by Dr Gauthier et al shows that suicide tourists came from 31 countries, most within Europe. Germans made up 44%, followed by the UK 21% and Italy increasing tenfold in the study period to 11%.
Dr Gauthier suggests that the increased suicide tourism to Zurich has led to changes in the laws within the tourists’ countries, though it is arguably more likely that this increased familiarity with AS has awoken public consciousness in each country of the need to address the issue at home. Indeed, as barrister Charles Foster has pointed out, “there is something intellectually, if not morally,uncomfortable about getting another country to do your dirty work”
BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics, published online August 2014
Response by Charles Foster
Report in Independent