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Assisted suicide numbers up in 2011

The number of people who ended their lives with the help of assisted suicide organisations increased significantly in 2011, the Sonntagszeitung newspaper has reported.

This content was published on February 19, 2012 - 12:16
swissinfo.ch

Dignitas, which caters mainly for people from abroad, accompanied 144 people choosing to die at their premises in Pfäffikon near Zurich, an increase of 35 per cent on 2010.

Exit, the organisation which caters for Swiss residents facilitated more than 300 suicides, up from 257 the previous year.

“A large proportion were suffering from cancer,” Bernhard Sutter of Exit said. The average age of Exit members opting for assisted suicide was 76.  

Although men are much more likely to commit suicide, representing three-quarters of Switzerland’s 1,400 cases annually, women are in the majority in assisted suicide. Almost two-thirds of Dignitas’ clients in 2011 were women.

Last year the people of Zurich voted to continue to allow assisted suicide for non-residents despite a campaign to restrict so-called suicide tourism.

A proposal to restrict access for foreigners to assisted suicide only to those living at least one year in the canton was rejected by 78.4 per cent of voters.

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