The euthanasia law has headed its final approval. The full Senate has given the green light this Wednesday to the opinion of the Justice Commission that regulates the right to a dignified death three months after Congress endorsed its approval. Senators have made some slight changes to the text that came from the upper house in December, so it must return to it for final ratification and it can enter into force. With 155 votes in favor, 100 against and three abstentions, the plenary session has supported the rule, which has been opposed by the Popular Party and Vox, who have tried to veto it again without success.
Who can ask for it? How is the proccess? Questions and Answers on the New Euthanasia Law Just Endorsed by Congress
For four hours the senators have starred in a fierce debate that has once again put the different positions of the groups on the table and that has ended with an ovation to the relatives of Maribel Tellaetxe and María José Carrasco, present in the guest gallery. They, along with Ramón Sampedro in the 90s or Luis de Marcos and Antonio Monguilod more recently, are some of the people who have put a face to the long struggle for euthanasia in Spain.
The PSOE, promoter of the law, has defended the spirit of the rule, which enshrines the right to decide on one’s life and “takes seriously the freedom of citizens without guardianship or privileges.” “Precisely because we have the strongest respect for the legal good that life is, we respect the genuine right to decide, which corresponds to the individual,” said the socialist Francisco Javier de Lucas Martín.
He did so in opposition to the attempts of the PP and Vox to overturn the law, which have defended their vetoes, rejected by a comfortable majority. The group of those from Santiago Abascal has once again accused the rest of the parties of promoting “the culture of death” online with the arguments promoted by ultra-Catholic groups who are trying to boycott the advance and have called the rule “unconstitutional and unfair.” The popular, for their part, have insisted on equating palliative care and euthanasia, as if they were not complementary, but different, and have described the norm as “retrogression” because “death is not a right”, in the words of Antonio Román Jasanada, who has framed it in “the ideological agenda of a government that seeks social confrontation.”
“For this law there are no unworthy lives, but processes of suffering that threaten the dignity of life,” responded the socialist senator Francisco Javier de Lucas, who recalled that this norm does not impose euthanasia for anyone, but rather offers a right to those who claim it freely.
This Wednesday’s plenary session has voted against both the right-wing veto proposals and the amendments that some groups still kept alive and have supported by a large majority the opinion that came from the Justice Commission. The senators have incorporated a score of amendments to the text, which imply slight changes. Fundamentally, the inclusion of the nursing community in the Guarantee and Evaluation Commission, which is a multidisciplinary body that will carry out a “prior verification” of the applications and that until now only included medical and legal personnel. Another of the modifications has to do precisely with the deadlines for launching these commissions, of which there will be one in each autonomous community: the law will enter into force three months after its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE), With the exception of the article that provides for the creation of these bodies, which will do so the next day. Since then, the autonomies will have three months to constitute them, with the aim that there is no temporary imbalance.
The keys to the law
With this penultimate step, Spain is closer to becoming one of the few countries in the world to regulate euthanasia, a benefit that the law recognizes as a right and that allows people who suffer from a “serious and serious illness” to request help to die. incurable “or a” serious, chronic and incapacitating condition “that causes” intolerable physical and mental suffering. ” They must be of legal age and be “capable” of acting and deciding and doing so “autonomously, consciously, informed” and without external pressure.
The norm establishes a framework and a prescribed procedure to do so: the request must be made in writing, which will pass a first filter by your responsible doctor. After 15 days you must re-formulate the request. That is, the patient will transfer his request twice, with a difference of two weeks. If death or loss of consciousness is “imminent”, the time frame may be shortened. After the first request, both will begin a “deliberative procedure” on their diagnosis, therapeutic possibilities and expected results, as well as on possible palliative care. After the second request, the process is resumed and within 24 hours, the applicant must confirm whether he wants to continue or desist.
Subsequently, the doctor has to consult a second doctor who will verify that the requirements are met in ten days and will prepare a report that can be appealed in case of denial. Later, the case will go to the establishment of the Guarantee and Evaluation Commission.
The law provides that it will be a public benefit included in the portfolio of common services of the National Health System and that it may be carried out in public, private or subsidized health centers, and at home. In addition, it includes the right to conscientious objection of health workers, who must express it “in advance and in writing.”