A few days before Christmas, the Congress of Deputies gave the green light to the legalization of euthanasia. Nothing should stand in the way of Spain joining the club of six countries in the world that have legalized assisting in the murder of vulnerable people.
The Opinion of the Bioethics Committee
The Spanish Bioethics Committee, however, gave an opinion opposing the bill on euthanasia on September 30. It affirmed that euthanasia is not a right. It recommended the broad development of palliative care and the supervision of sedation practices in cases of intractable suffering. Finally, it proposed to strengthen the fight against pain and improve the quality of life of patients.
In addition, it warned against a practice that patients would request it, convinced that it is the only option and that the public authorities would see it as a solution to reduce the cost of medical assistance.
The next day, 160 jurists asked the government not to pursue this bill, which is contrary to human dignity and the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the International Convention on Human Rights.
The Government Takes No Notice
“Today common sense and humanity reign,” declared, with Orwellian accents, Salvador Illa, Spanish Minister of Health, on December 17, 2020, when the Chamber of Deputies had just approved by 198 votes for , and 138 against - including 2 abstentions - the bill brought by the socialists of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), which establishes the legal framework for euthanasia.
The text was presented for the first time in 2017 by Podemos, before being picked up in 2018 by the PSOE. Socialist deputy Maria Luisa Carcedo, as rapporteur for the future law, defended it as “progress in civil rights, which will bring more freedom to citizens.”
Brushing aside the objections of those who see in the legalization of euthanasia the danger of state eugenics and abusive euthanasia, the deputy added that “it is the patient who decides, the state does not impose anything.”
To see in the facts and over time, especially when you look at it more closely.
The approved text tears down many safeguards: to obtain his “right” to suicide, the patient will only have to make the request twice, at least two weeks apart, after having been informed of his medical situation and possible alternatives in palliative care.
The applicant must suffer from a serious and incurable illness, causing constant and intolerable physical or mental suffering, or to be suffering only from a chronic and debilitating illness, which affects his autonomy. For patients in a coma or in a pauci-relational state, there must be advance directives allowing euthanasia—a device whose fragility is known.
The right-wing party, Vox, through the voice of its president Santiago Abascal, denounced a government which “will go down in history as obsessed with death... which condemns the most vulnerable, the weakest, and those who suffer the most, to despair.”
Vox spokeswoman Lourdes Mendez, announcing that her party would appeal “this barbarism” to the Constitutional Court, criticized a law that “loathes reason and institutionalizes the industry of death.”
The text voted on at first reading must now pass before the Senate: a formality, given that the upper chamber of the Cortes generales is predominantly on the left. After its publication in the Official Journal, the law will enter into force three months later.
Spain will then become the 6th country in the world - the 4th in Europe - to legalize assisted suicide.