MADRID, Spain, March 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Spain has passed a euthanasia bill into law on Thursday. Once the law will take effect in three months, Spain will be one of a handful of countries in Europe regulating euthanasia within its borders.
The bill was introduced in 2018 by Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE), but was pushed back by conservatives. However, a recent shift in Spain’s government has put the PSOE into the governing majority, headed by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in coalition with another leftist party, Unidas Podemos. The coalition, with the help of smaller parties, was able to get enough votes in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of Spain’s legislative body. The euthanasia bill was approved on March 18 with 202 votes in favor, 141 against it, and two abstentions.
The conservative Popular Party (PP) and the far-right party, Vox, opposed it. Vox took to twitter to condemn the death agenda pushed by the socialist and leftist parties. “The PSOE is not satisfied with the 100,000 deaths it has left in its wake”, said Santiago Abascal, leader of Vox, in reference to those killed by COVID-19. Vox has vowed to appeal the law.
MP Lourdes Monasterio promised that his party is going to issue an appeal to the Constitutional Court requesting suspension of the regulations.
“Life cannot be at the disposal of the public powers. Today we say goodbye to more than twenty centuries of pro-life culture and goodbye to modern constitutionalism … it is the failure of a civilization,” Monasterio said.
The law sets out steps for those who apply for euthanasia or assisted suicide. A formal request must be made in writing two times over the span of two weeks, and a person must “suffer a serious or incurable disease or a serious, chronic and incapacitating condition,” which causes them “intolerable suffering.” The patient must also “express their clear will to end their life, and they must have been supplied with information about their medical condition and the alternatives that are available to them.”
“Once the second request has been made, the patient’s doctor must pass the request on to the corresponding regional commission, which will appoint two professionals with no connection to the case for its analysis. The commission will then approve or reject the decision reached by these two specialists. The [request] … will be determined by each region, apart from it having at least seven people and including medical, legal, and nursing experts. The commission has 19 days to reply to a request,” reports El País.
When the bill was first debated in 2018, PP spokesperson Pilar Cortés shared concerns that, “given time, exceptional situations will turn into habitual situations,” because it will be seen as “a cheaper solution” than palliative care. Cortés shared that in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2001, there are around 1,000 cases of involuntary euthanasia per year.
Several cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide have grabbed the attention of the public in Spain over the last two decades and were used for garnering emotional support for legislation. One case, in the Spring of 2019, involved a man named Ángel Hernández from Madrid who turned himself into the police after confessing to giving his partner, María José Carrasco, a lethal dose of sodium pentobarbital. Carrasco had been suffering from multiple sclerosis. Hernández is awaiting trial.
An earlier case involved a paralyzed man named Ramon Sampedro who recorded his assisted suicide in 1998. His story was later made into a movie called “The Sea Inside” and won an Oscar.
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Despite emotional appeals to the public, there are still many who oppose prematurely-induced death under the guise of compassion. According to Euronews, about a hundred people gathered outside Parliament against “the government of death” with banners to protest the legislation. “The Spanish Catholic Church has vehemently condemned the reform, comparing euthanasia to ‘a form of homicide.’”
Bishop Luis Javier Argüello Garcia, auxiliary bishop of Valladolid and secretary general of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, responded to the new law, saying, “This is a moment to promote conscience objection and promote all that which is related with this culture of life that wants to have a red line strongly saying ‘You shall not kill.’”
Garcia is reminding doctors “not to induce death to alleviate suffering,” but instead to treat the patient with “tenderness, closeness, mercy, encouragement, and hope for those people who are in the final stage of their existence …,” according to Catholic World Report. He also warned against a defeatist attitude, encouraging Catholics “to promote a culture of life and to take concrete steps to promote a living will or advance declarations that make it possible for Spanish citizens to express in a clear and determined way their desire to receive palliative care,” as opposed to assisted suicide or euthanasia.