Renewed legal proceedings due to unreasonable hurdles to access assisted suicide


Since 1 January 2022, assisted suicide has been possible in Austria within a narrow legal framework. However, the assisted dying law, which was passed in a hurry, has considerable shortcomings that make it very difficult for individuals to actually implement their wish, which is inacceptable and unconstitutional.

On 21 June 2023, the Austrian Society for a Humane End of Life (ÖGHL), with the support of DIGNITAS, again submitted a constitutional complaint (“Individualantrag”). The lead attorney in the case is the Viennese lawyer and advisor to the ÖGHL, Wolfgang Proksch.

The fact that today assisted suicide is possible at all in Austria is owed to a constitutional complaint drafted and submitted in 2019 by Proksch, on the initiative and with the support of DIGNITAS. The plaintiffs were four private individuals. On 11 December 2020, the Austrian Constitutional Court declared the existing blanket ban on assisted suicide (second fact of §78 öStGB, Austrian Criminal Code) not to be constitutional in every case (see DIGNITAS press release).

With this judgment, as of 1 January 2022, the citizens of Austria were granted the freedom of choice and the human right they have long been entitled to: to decide themselves when their suffering and life should end, by assisted suicide, and to ask third parties, thus also professionals, for help in doing so.

The new law*, which has been in force since 1 January 2022 and through which politicians intended to regulate the requirements and procedures for assisted suicide, unfortunately has not proven itself in practice. In addition to the high bureaucratic hurdles which an applicant has to overcome, the scarce availability of information and the numerous unclear provisions are objectionable.

Hopefully, the Constitutional Court will recognise the existing hurdles of the current law as unconstitutional and that it will have to be revised to ensure that people in Austria who meet the requirements for an assisted suicide will no longer be largely left alone and ultimately fail to make use of their “last human right” due to unreasonable bureaucracy.


* Bundesgesetz über die Errichtung von Sterbeverfügungen (“Federal Act on Establishing Advance Directives for Assistance in Suicide”)




Newsletter 2023-3-1-e


Latest News


Well Worth Seeing


Twenty years after John's death

>> more


Assisted Dying is not the easy way out

>> more


"Cracking the taboo on suicide is the best means to prevent suicide attempts and deaths by suicide"

>> more


Research Report for End of Life Choices Jersey

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

death: the human experience

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: death - the human experience

>> more

death: is it your right to choose?

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: death - is it your right to choose

>> more


Documentaries and more

>> llink


P.O. Box 17
8127 Forch

Telephone international
+41 43 366 10 70
Telephone within Switzerland
043 366 10 70
(Mon to Fri, 9:00 - 12:00 / 13:30 - 16:30 hours)

Fax international
+41 43 366 10 79
Fax within Switzerland
043 366 10 79