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Australia: Bill to Establish State Relationship Register for Same-Sex Couples Introduced

(Oct. 7, 2016) On September 22, 2016, the South Australian government introduced into the State Parliament a bill that will enable unmarried couples, both same-sex and heterosexual, to register their relationships with the government.  The Relationships Register Bill 2016 (SA) provides for such couples to receive a certificate of registration and have their relationships legally […]

Japan: Act to Promote the Collection of War Dead Remains Passed

(June 13, 2016) The Act on Promotion of Collection of Remains of War Dead was promulgated in Japan on March 30, 2016, and became effective on April 1, 2016.  (Act No. 12 of 2016, Official Gazette website (in Japanese).) The new Act states that collection of the war dead’s remains is the state’s obligation, and […]

Germany: Parliament Adopts Draft Act to Criminalize Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Dec. 1, 2015) On November 6, 2015, the German Bundestag (parliament) adopted a draft act that criminalizes commercial assisted suicide. (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Strafbarkeit der geschäftsmäßigen Förderung der Selbsttötung [Draft Act to Criminalize Commercial Assisted Suicide] (July 1, 2015), DEUTSCHER BUNDESTAG: DRUCKSACHEN UND PROTOKOLLE [BT-Drs.] 18/5373, Deutscher Bundestag website (scroll down to view text of the […]

Canada: Legislation on “Right-to-die with Dignity” Introduced in Quebec

(June 25, 2013) On June 12, 2013, the Parti Québécois Government of Quebec introduced draft legislation entitled “An Act Respecting End-of-Life Care” (Bill 52, 40th legislature, 1st session, Assemblée Nationale Québec). Bill 52 aims to redefine the rights of patients who have serious illnesses and their options for end-of-life care treatments. Among the treatment options, […]

Netherlands: Citizens Group Seeks New Right to Die

(Mar. 16, 2012) The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament held a plenary session on March 8, 2012, concerning a citizen's initiative on euthanasia. The group Out of Free Will submitted the “Completed Life” initiative. The proposal calls for recognition of the right of all Dutch citizens over 70 years of age […]

China: Case of Assisted Suicide Stirs Euthanasia Debate

(Aug. 17, 2011) In May 2011, the People's Court of Longnan County, in China's Jiangxi Province, sentenced Zhong Yichun, an elderly farmer, to two years' imprisonment for assisting his friend Zeng Qianxiang to commit suicide. Zhong was convicted of criminal negligence resulting in another person's death. (Farmer Jailed for Assisting Suicide Triggers Controversy, XINHUA (Aug. […]

Taiwan: Provisions on “Do Not Resuscitate” Orders Amended

(Feb. 16, 2011) On January 26, 2011, an amendment to Taiwan's Hospice Palliative Care Act was promulgated. The most significant change is that the amended law enables doctors to observe, without the need for the original signed document, the advance directives such as do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders that are indicated on national health insurance (NHI) cards. […]

Spain: Bill on Dignified Death

(Feb. 2, 2011) The Government of Spain, through its Ministry of Health, is preparing a new bill on “death with dignity” that is expected to be ready to be submitted to the Council of Ministers by March 2011. (Pajín Asegura que la Futura Ley de Muerte Digna no Regulara la Eutanasia, LA VANGUARDIA (Jan. 26, […]

Germany: Landmark Euthanasia Ruling

(June 28, 2010) The Second Criminal Division of the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ), Germany's highest civil court, ruled on June 25, 2010, that in certain cases it is not a criminal offense to terminate the life support system of a consenting, terminally ill patient. The Court acquitted a lawyer who had been convicted in […]

United States: Montana Supreme Court Holds State Law Permits Physician Assistance of Suicides by Terminally Ill Patients

(Jan. 26, 2010) The Montana Supreme Court has held that Montana law allows a physician to aid the suicide of terminally ill patient. With this decision, Montana joins Oregon and Washington as states that allow the physician-assisted suicide of mentally competent, terminally ill patients. The plaintiffs in this case included a terminally ill patient who […]