International Association Against Psychiatric Assault

Germany about to make advance directives binding by law!
German doctors abandon psychiatrists

Where Germany was once at the forefront regarding crimes against humanity, it now seems to lead with the social dismantling of medical coercion: Soon all medical advanced directives (proposed by Thomas Szasz in 1982 as a "Psychiatric Will") will be legally binding, even if the person can no longer express him/herself, is unable to consent, has no illness insight or is considered incompetent, as long as active killing is not requested. Custodians or persons authorized by a representation agreement will by law have to execute the individual's previously formulated will. Each coerced diagnosis against such a directive would become a violation of the fundamental rights of informal self-determination, psychiatric incarceration becomes a sanctioned deprivation of liberty, any coercive treatment would be a bodily injury, indeed torture. In my opinion, the further development of such legislation throughout the European Union can hardly be stopped.

The new law was proposed in November 2004 by the minister of justice of the Federal Government, Brigitte Zypries. It initiated an immediate controversy. The new law is being discussed, especially on the issue of a dignified form of dying but nevertheless logically and explicitly it will be valid also for non terminal illnesses. Here is the key argument: Suicide assistance is punishable by law in Germany, so the opponents of the new law tried to insinuate that the new legislation would be a kind of physician assisted suicide. But the fact is that patients die from an illness instead of being "killed" by "negligence" according to an advance directive requesting non treatment. Using this wrong argument put the opponents on the defence.

In this situation, the president of the German Chamber of Doctors, Dr. Joerg-Dietrich Hoppe made an interview. Read report here (German) He states his firm support for the proposed law, where of course no exception for psychiatric advanced directives is mentioned. So the German doctors representation agreed to the principle of informed consent and forswear medical force and coercion. By doing so, they abandoned the psychiatrists who regularly and systematically make use of them. Of course this does not immediately outrule the German mental health acts but - and this is decisive - it lays the legal grounds for a definite opting out. Advance directives will be constitutionally supported as part of human dignity and self-determination (Art. 1 of the German Constitution). It is solely at the discretion of the individual to opt out of any psychiatric label. The consequence is that as soon as a significant number of people have made this decision to opt out, only those who want to be "mentally ill" can be diagnosed as such. This fact contradicts completely the criterion of objectivity of an illness. In modern medicine an illness does not exist only on the basis of a person's declaration and/or wish to be ill. (This fact explains why the psychiatrists sliced the brains of people they murdered, lobotomized and electroshocked others, speak about chemicals such as Dopotamin and fantasize about psychiatric genetics - all the well known evil of psychiatrists, in order to legitimize their cruelties as medical practice and themselves as doctors.) So in Germany it is quite sure that we have succeeded in expanding from a loophole of a representation agreement without psychiatric exception (as in British Columbia law) to a watershed to sink the psychiatric Titanic.

The next steps in the legislative procedure: Surprise, surprise, we the "Lunatic Offensive", are kindly requested by the Federal Minister of Justice to send her our expert opinion by the end of the month. So after 25 years of existence and radical opposition, we are officially recognized as experts and honoured in delivering our statement on such an important subject.

As now the organization of doctors have changed sides, a majority for this new law is certain, even if the parliament will vote in about half a year without any party related preference. Only the little liberal party (with 7% of the seats) is completely in favour. All other members of parliament will vote only according to their conviction.

René Talbot
January, 2005

Impressum: International Association Against Psychiatric Assault
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