Backed by a coterie of influential individuals, a citizen’s initiative seeking the legalisation of euthanasia has racked up more than the 50,000 signatures required to take it before lawmakers in Parliament.
The initiative was launched on November 7, and took just over four weeks to reach the mandatory threshold for consideration as proposed legislation.
Sponsors of the initiative have pointed out that more than 85 percent of Finns support the idea of euthanasia, including a majority of nurses and more than half of doctors. However the association representing Finnish physicians, the Finnish Medical Association, has said it opposes the proposal.
The citizen’s initiative programme was rolled out by the Justice Ministry in 2012, after legislation was passed to guarantee citizens’ constitutional right to influence democracy by way of the initiative. Many proposals make use of an online platform provided by the Ministry, kansalaisaloite.fi
Since that time, some 13 proposals have gathered the support needed to go before Parliament. Just one, an initiative calling for the legalisation of same-sex marriage, got the nod from lawmakers in November 2014 to become law.