The Supreme Court confirms that the Right to Die with Dignity Association is of “public utility”. A judgment of the Fifth Section of the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the High Court considers that the activity of this non-profit entity promotes the fundamental right to life contained in article 15 of the Constitution and dismisses the entity’s appeal ultra-Catholic Christian Lawyers, who tried to challenge his declaration of public utility in court.
Congress approves the euthanasia law that will help people to die with dignity in Spain
Right to Die with dignity is an association founded in 1984 that defends the decriminalization of euthanasia and the right to medically assisted suicide for advanced patients who “freely wish to free themselves from suffering that they experience as intolerable.”
The High Court thus confirms a previous ruling of the National Court that endorsed the order by which the Ministry of the Interior declared in 2017 the public utility of this association. The Chamber establishes as a doctrine that “the purpose of activities aimed at counseling people at the end of their life must be considered as promoting the right to life and, consequently, an association that assumes said purposes meets the conditions to be declared of public utility”.
In their appeal, Abogados Cristianos argued that this association does not promote the general interest, which is a priority requirement for the declaration of public utility, but rather that a mere particular “pro-eugenic and pro-Euthanasian” ideology is promoted contrary to the right to life contained in Article 15 of the Constitution. In addition, the appeal highlighted that the provision of services and their euthanasia practices are only for associates and with a remunerative nature.
According to the Law of the Right of Association, the associations declared of public utility can “enjoy the tax exemptions and benefits that the laws recognize in favor of them, under the terms and conditions provided in the current regulations. In practice, this translates into tax deductions to the Treasury for people or companies that make donations or are members of the platform, as well as greater facilities to access public subsidies.
For an association to obtain this status, it is required that its statutory purposes promote the general interest, that the activity does not exclusively benefit the associates and that the members of the representative bodies who receive remuneration do not do so from public funds.
The Supreme Court’s ruling occurs in the middle of the debate on theapproval of euthanasia in Spain, which only has to pass through the Senate to be a reality. This rule will make Spain the fourth in Europe and one of the few in the world to regulate the right to a dignified death.