Spain Set To Legitimize Euthanasia In Landmark Decision

Spain Set To Legitimize Euthanasia In Landmark Decision

With the purpose of creating a more humane and just society, Spain has decided to approve a law legitimizing euthanasia. After final approval from the Spanish government on 18th March, the law will be put into practice from June 2021.

The new legislation is set to allow patients with ‘serious and incurable’ diseases causing ‘unbearable pain’ to end their life. In addition to euthanasia where medical staff intentionally ends a patient’s life to prevent suffering, this legislation will also allow the patient to take their own life, under the supervision of medical staff.

Spain to legalize euthanasia
People protested the proposed law in Madrid. Credit: PA

Before a patient is given the choice to end their life, a set of strict conditions should be met. For example, the person requesting euthanasia should be a Spanish national or a legal resident. Also, the patient must be ‘fully aware and conscious’ while requesting the procedure. To receive euthanasia, a couple of requests must be submitted, 15 days apart. Also, the requests should have the approval of a second medic and an evaluation body. If the requests fail to meet the relevant criteria, they can be turned down.

The bill to legalize euthanasia was approved by Spain’s lower house of parliament in December. Addressing the parliament that day, Health Minister Salvador Illa stated: “It is an important day for those people who are in a situation of serious suffering, and it is also important for their families and people close to them.”

Spain to legalize euthanasia
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa has welcomed the legislation. Credit: PA

Sofia Malagon, a Right-to-die activist suffering from Parkinson’s, welcomed the new legislation, stating that nobody would choose to live an undignified life. “I don’t want to be left like a vegetable”, Malagon added.

Not Everybody Supports The New Legislation

In a 2019 opinion poll, nearly 90% of Spanish residents voted in favor of legitimizing euthanasia. However, not everyone supports this milestone decision.

Along with the Episcopal Conference consisting of the leading bishops in Spain, the Catholic church strongly opposed the new legislation. They stated that since euthanasia requires one person to take the life of another, it’s always a form of murder. Santiago Abascal, the leader of the far-right Vox party, strongly condemned the legislation, stating: “The euthanasia law is a defeat for civilization and a victory for the culture of death”. He added that the euthanasia law is a win for people who believe that some lives are more valuable than others.

At the present, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are the only EU countries that allow euthanasia.

So, what are your thoughts about euthanasia? Check out the article and share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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