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Zurich voters reject assisted-suicide ban

ZURICH -- Voters in Zurich Sunday overwhelmingly rejected calls to ban assisted suicide or to outlaw the practice for nonresidents.

Zurich's cantonal voters defeated both measures, pushed by political and religious conservatives, by about 4 to 1.

Out of more than 278,000 ballots cast, the initiative to ban assisted suicide was opposed by 85 percent of voters and the initiative to outlaw it for foreigners was turned down by 78 percent, according to Zurich authorities.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, and has been since 1941, provided the helper isn't a medical doctor and doesn't personally benefit from a patient's death.

About 200 people a year commit suicide in Zurich.

Those who voted against said they believe it's a matter of personal freedom, though some expressed unease and concern that Zurich has become something of a tourist destination for hundreds of people, mainly other Europeans, and a few Americans, who each year visit because they want to end their lives. -- AP

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