March 2, 2021

Euthanasia law takes a big step forward

An image of Ángel Hernández, who helped his sick wife María José Carrasco die.

An image of Ángel Hernández, who helped his sick wife María José Carrasco die.

The law that decriminalizes and regulates euthanasia in Spain, after several unsuccessful attempts, this Thursday has taken a fundamental step forward, being approved by the congressional justice commission, with the only rejection of the PP and Vox. After express processing, the rule is predictably ready to be debated next Thursday in plenary, with the view that it sees the light, after its passage through the Senate, in February or March of next year. Spain would thus become become one of the few countries that allow aid to die, which is conceived as a right and will be practiced in the health system or at the patient’s home, if requested by the patient.

This is the third time that Congress has studied the bill that regulates euthanasia presented by the PSOEGiven that the two previous attempts declined, the first because PP and Ciudadanos obstructed their progress, and the second because PSOE and Podemos did not reach, at first, an agreement to form a Government. But now the norm makes its way and with a great consensus, since only PP and Vox have opposed its approval, with harsh disqualifications towards the norm and towards the Government.

The rest of the groups have supported that, in response to the social demand expressed in the surveys, euthanasia be regulated in Spain and although there have only been two meetings of the presentation aimed at studying the amendments, there have been “many transactional ones as a result of the agreement of the parliamentary groups on the need for the project”, which have “improved” the law, as explained the socialist spokesperson on the matter, the former minister Maria Luisa Carcedo.

With this, it is agreed a bill “absolutely guarantee”, again in the words of Carcedo, which allows a medical team to facilitate the death of any person who suffers a “serious, chronic and imposing illness” or an incurable disease and requests in writing their desire to end their life. According to the procedure established by the regulation, said request must be reviewed by two medical teams and if they give their approval, a guarantee commission, appointed by each autonomous community, will check that all the requirements have been met, so that help to die can be offered within about a month. The law contemplates that it is the medical team that supplies the applicant with the medicine that will end his life or that he himself is the one who takes it.

The parties in favor of the norm have indicated that “The norm does not oblige those who do not want to request euthanasia, it does not cut any rights but rather broadens freedoms”, as stated by the PDECat deputy Sergi Miquel. Likewise, the parliamentarian for Ciudadanos Sara Giménez has highlighted that the groups have known how to “tackle a complex issue” and “advance in rights”, with a law with “guarantees that are their strengths”. There have also been several spokespersons who have recognized the struggle, for years, of the groups in favor of euthanasia, as well as those affected or activists such as Ramon Sampedro or Angel Hernandez, who helped his wife die, María José Carrasco.


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