Switzerland to Combat 'Death Tourism'

"Suicide must only be a last resort. The government believes that protection of human life must be uppermost. Assisted suicide should be restricted to the terminally-ill and not be available to chronically or mentally ill individuals."

The statement emphasized that the Swiss government is also looking to "prevent organized assisted suicide from becoming a profit driven business."

Widmer-Schlumpf, the justice minister, would like to establish a compulsory period of reflection between the first contact made with an organization and a person seeking assistance to commit suicide.

She also suggested that patients were seen by two different doctors during that time and she called for assisted suicide groups to make sure they would assist only those patients that are terminally ill and close to death.

Dignitas opposes any changes of the current law.

Swiss lawyer Ludwig Minelli, who founded the non-profit group in 1998, told ABC News, "The proposals by the Ministry of Justice put an inacceptable limitation on the free will of the patients."

"For example, the necessity to have two doctors certify the terminal disease would make it extremely expensive if not impossible for the patient to stick to the rules," he said.

"Furthermore, it is an affront for patients, who suffer from multiple sclerosis or other terminal neurological disease, to suggest they should receive palliative care when it is their free will to put an end to their lives. Those proposals breathe the bureaucratic regimentation of an out-of-touch bureaucracy."

The Swiss cabinet, divided on the emotional issue, has now sent two proposals to the Swiss parliament for a six months legislative process of consultation.

The proposals, to either tighten up regulations or outlaw all forms of assisted suicide, are open for public comment as is standard procedure within the Swiss legal system.

The government then will send a draft law to parliament to decide.

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