January 22, 2021

The Congress will debate euthanasia, which has enough support | Society

The Congress will debate euthanasia, which has enough support | Society



In video, the differences between assisted suicide, euthanasia and terminal sedation, in two minutes. Getty

The Popular Party (PP) has opted to dismantle in Congress the proposed law of the PSOE to regulate euthanasia in Spain. The training led by Pablo Casado, however, does not pursue this decision to facilitate that patients suffering from an incurable disease can shorten their lives, but quite the contrary: make visible its frontal rejection of the regulation of this medical practice and thus mark a profile of confrontation with the Socialists. The result of the strategy of the popular will be that the formalization of the law begins formally today. The initiative was launched by the PSOE last spring and taken into consideration by Congress in June. After several extensions requested by the PP, today ended the deadline for the presentation of amendments to the whole and Casado has decided to enter the debate squarely.

The popular will make theirs public and will present an alternative text to the PSOE law proposal, which establishes euthanasia as an "individual right" to which those who suffer "a serious and incurable disease with a limited life prognosis" or "may be eligible" a serious, chronic and irreversible disability "that causes them" unbearable suffering ". The advance of death may be provided, according to the text, by both public and private health, and doctors who do not wish to participate in the process may be declared conscientious objectors. The norm has the rank of organic and carries with it an amendment to the Penal Code.

The PP maintains its not resounding to regulate euthanasia and its proposal tries to align itself with another initiative of Citizens on the so-called dignified death and palliative care. The favorable parties to regulate it -mayoritarians in the plenary session, since PSOE, Podemos, PNV, ERC and PDeCAT add 178 seats- consider that both welfare practices are not confronted, but are complementary. Even with a full development of palliative care, these parties estimate, there will continue to be people without a prognosis of imminent death who need a law that allows them to bring forward the end of their lives with full guarantees for both them and the doctors.

On Thursday of next week, October 25, the plenary session of the Congress will hold the debate on euthanasia through the amendment to the totality that the PP is expected to present today. It does not seem that there will be surprises when the groups have to debate the position of the PP. Already last June the processing of the socialist proposal even had the support of Citizens – who for now does not refuse to open the euthanasia debate, although it is still committed to palliative care – and received 208 favorable votes. In addition to the popular ones, they only voted against UPN and Foro Asturias. Canary Coalition abstained.

Before beginning the procedure, the law must overcome a first obstacle in the form of amendments, after which the first major debate on the standard will be held. If, as is foreseeable, the amendment to the whole of the PP is rejected, the law will first go to the presentation phase -in which the groups will try to agree on a text-, then go to the Justice Commission and finally return to the full. There, since it is an organic law, it must be voted on as a whole and achieve an absolute majority: 176 favorable votes. Throughout this process, the text will remain open to amendments.

The block favorable to the regulation of euthanasia, however, maintains some differences on how to translate the new right into practice. The most important is the creation of control commissions that must authorize the advance of death after two doctors have considered that the case complies with the law. The PSOE defends, in a position shared by the PNV, that these commissions will give "more security to doctors and patients", who will also be able to resort to them before a hypothetical rejection of the physicians. For Podemos and ERC, on the other hand, this prior control is unnecessary and restrictive, and they give as an example that the laws of Belgium and the Netherlands do not contemplate it.

The data from the Center for Sociological Research (CIS) show that the majority of the Spanish population is in favor of regulating euthanasia and assisted suicide. "It is a clear support and, in addition, consistent over time for more than a decade," says Rafael Serrano-del-Rosal, researcher and director of the Institute of Advanced Social Studies-CSIC. In a study published this year in the Spanish Journal of Sociological Research, Serrano-del-Rosal, highlights that 58% of Spaniards answer "yes" when asked if they support the regulation of euthanasia compared to only 10% that shows against "with security". Among the other intermediate options, the most important (15%) is the one that states: "I think so, but I'm not totally sure".

About assisted suicide, the favorable position is also majority, with 39% in favor and 19% against, with 14% of favorable citizens but with doubts. On these percentages, the researcher highlights the role of entities "very castrating socially." "We saw that individual positions are much more favorable to euthanasia and assisted suicide than is often reflected in public debate. Therefore, we conducted qualitative studies that revealed that people in principle favorable to these practices, but without a very elaborate discourse, often recoil from the opposing positions of media and organizations that launch harsh messages such as "this is being against life", concludes Serrano-del-Rosal.

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