Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Spain may legalize euthanasia for the terminally ill and people with disabilities in 2021.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In February 2020 the Spanish parliament voted 203 to 140 (2 abstained) to continue debating a bill to legalize euthanasia in Spain. Reuters stated:
“We’re talking about clearly debilitating diseases without a cure, without a solution and which cause significant suffering,” government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said, adding that doctors who object to the practice will be able to opt out.
The bill was sent to the Parliamentary Health Committee for discussion and then to the Senate before it returns to the lower house for a final vote.

Tania Alonso Cascallana reporting for Nobbot.com news explains the proposed bill. Cascallana stated (google translated):
According to Marin (Fernando Marin, Right to Die with Dignity), the model proposed by the Government is more restrictive than that of other neighboring countries that have a euthanasia law, such as the Netherlands, Belgium or Luxembourg.

It includes two large groups that can request euthanasia or assisted suicide. The first of them is made up of the terminally ill. ...They are approximately 65% of the people who die by euthanasia in the countries in which it is regulated, explains Marin.

The second group is made up of people with a serious chronic disease that results in a deficit of their autonomy. ...They amount to between 10% and 15% of the cases says Marin.

However, the law leaves out people whose suffering has a psychological origin. ...These are difficult cases, which often affect young people, and put on the table the debate of what society does with people with serious mental disorders, explains Marin.
The Spanish Bioethics Committee unanimously rejected the proposed euthanasia bill in their October 6 report. A CNA article stated:
The bill is invalid not only because it decriminalizes euthanasia as an exception to the general rule requiring life to be protected, but also because it recognizes death as a right that can be incorporated into the list of public health benefits, the committee noted.

The CBE pointed out that “a person’s desire for a third party or the state itself to end his life, directly or indirectly, in those cases of great physical and/or mental suffering, must always be viewed with compassion and met with effective compassionate action leading to the prevention of pain and a peaceful death.”

"Legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide entails setting out on a path toward the devaluation of the protection of human life whose boundaries are very difficult to foresee, as the experience of our circumstances shows us.”

The committee stressed that “euthanasia and/or assisted suicide are not signs of progress but rather a regression of civilization, since in a context in which the value of human life is often conditioned by criteria of social utility, economic interests, family responsibilities and the burden to the public or public spending, the legalization of early death would add a new set of problems.”
I understand that this article interviews a leading member of the euthanasia lobby, but it appears that Marin has inside information concerning the bill that the Spanish government is likely to debate in 2021.

If Spain's euthanasia bill is similar to what Marin has outlined, then the bill will allow euthanasia for people who are not terminally ill, but chronically ill, in other words this bill will enable people who are not dying but living with disabilities to be killed by lethal injection.

Euthanasia is always wrong because it constitutes the killing of people, nonetheless, the disability community in Spain needs to strongly speak up because this legislation will threaten their lives.

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