November 10, 2015 6:20am(JTA) Assisted suicide laws will not be liberalized in Germany, a move that the country's Jewish community had vigorously opposed.
The Bundestag decided not to legalize organizations that promote or offer assisted suicide and to continue barring doctors from offering such assistance as a regular medical service.
Lawmakers instead toughened the national stance against commercialized assisted suicide. Such acts will now be punished with up to three years in jail, even if a doctor claims to have acted to relieve a patient's suffering. The bill was passed on Friday with 360 out of 602 votes, Reuters reported.
Dr. Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Bayerischen Rundfunk broadcasting company that he was "relieved" at the decision on easing assisted suicide laws "after a long, serious, and sometimes emotional debate."
Euthanasia is a particularly sensitive topic in Germany, as an estimated 200,000 people, most of them mentally and physically disabled, were murdered in the Nazi "euthanasia" program, their lives considered "unworthy" by the state.