stage img

"Exit" does not exclude Fifth Switzerland

27 January 2021

The euthanasia organisation Exit is refraining from a controversial step: Swiss members residing abroad will not be excluded. They can continue to use Exit services.

The largest and best-known Swiss euthanasia organisation, Exit, announced in summer 2020 that it would tighten the criteria for membership: In future, only those living in Switzerland would be able to become Exit members. And an already existing membership would expire when moving abroad.

There was fierce opposition to this planned change in the Exit Statutes. In particular, Swiss citizens living abroad complained that they would be excluded from the liberal euthanasia practice in Switzerland.

Now it is certain that Exit will forego the aforementioned tightening. Exit President Marion Schafroth: "Those who move their residence abroad will not be excluded from our association in the future."

The association had considered the now rejected step because of "bureaucratic hurdles": Some of the members abroad live in countries where euthanasia is handled very strictly or is even prohibited by law. In addition, according to Exit, seriously ill members have to be transported to Switzerland, as only here can assisted suicide be legally carried out.

Founded in 1982, the Exit association now has around 130,000 members, almost 3,000 of whom live abroad. Exit's main focus is on "self-determined dying", i.e. assisted suicide. Every year, around 900 sick people are accompanied to their death by the organisation. Significantly less than one per cent of them travel from abroad for this purpose. (MUL)


This article relates exclusively to the services of the Zurich-based assisted suicide organisation “EXIT-Deutsche Schweiz”. There are two EXIT organisations in Switzerland, which are independent of each other: “EXIT-Deutsche Schweiz” and “EXIT ADMD Suisse romande” based in Geneva. The two organisations have different statutes. Under its statutes, “EXIT-Deutsche Schweiz” accepts Swiss citizens living abroad and will continue to do so in the future. However, “EXIT ADMD Suisse romande” only accepts Swiss or foreign nationals whose main residence is in French-speaking Switzerland. Unlike “EXIT-Deutsche Schweiz”, the Geneva-based organisation does not offer assisted suicide rooms where it can help people who wish to die with dignity. Nor does it have any plans to acquire such rooms. “EXIT ADMD Suisse romande” only provides assisted suicide services in people’s own homes. As a result, Swiss citizens living abroad are only able to register with “EXIT-Deutsche Schweiz” in Zurich.

Please visit and/or for further information.