Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Latvia rejects euthanasia initiative.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Latvia Saeima
The Latvian public broadcaster LSM.LV reported that, after a long debate, the Latvian Saeima rejected a citizens initiative to legalize euthanasia by a vote of 49 to 38 with 2 abstentions. A citizens initiative collected 10,000 signatures which required the Saeima to debate the issue.

LSM reported that Saeima representatives saw the euthanasia debate as opening the door for better end-of-life care for Latvians. According to the report:
opposition MP Viktors Valainis (Union of Greens and Farmers) said euthanasia would be the easiest way for severely ill people to escape intolerable pain, yet it is “absolutely unacceptable” because it ignores a number of problems in palliative care. At the same time, the Member stated that he was prepared to do everything necessary to improve the medical sector in the country.
The Baltic News Network (BNN) provided an analysis of the debate. BNN reported:
Saeima deputy Anda Čakša said that the topic of For a Good Death is a call for help from residents. She believes there are two important aspects – the accessibility of analgesia and palliative care and what are the people’s rights to refuse aggressive health treatment.

According to Čakša, the topic of euthanasia should not be on the table while the issue of palliative care remains unresolved. The Saeima member said her faction [New Unity] will hold a free vote on this.
BNN also reported that Saeima deputy Andris Skride was preparing to introduce legislation. The report stated:
Saeima deputy Andris Skride, who is a cardiologist, admitted that representatives of the initiative have clearly shown – the problem exists. Working with patients suffering from all kinds of problems has taught him that there may be a need for euthanasia.

Skride agreed with Buks, adding that passive euthanasia in Latvia is not regulated. This is why he believes it is necessary to commence discussions on a legislative level. The deputy said he has prepared a legislative draft, which he plans to submit to one of the parliament’s committees for review.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition promotes caring for people, not killing people.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

As a retired health professional who spent part of my career providing Palliative care, I see euthanasia as a blatant statement of failure: failure to provide the whole spectrum of true Palliative Care. This brings true comfort in every way to the patient, alleviating the suffering. This includes assisting the client's family as well as needed.
If I'm not mistaken, euthanasia is significantly more prevalent where palliative care is not provided/made available to it's full scope. Very tragic.