Catalonia to call on Spanish Congress to decriminalize euthanasia

Catalonia to call on Spanish Congress to decriminalize euthanasia

The regional parliament of Spain’s Catalonia region is to present a draft bill before the Spanish Congress aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia. On Thursday, all groups within the parliament with the exception of the conservative Popular Party (PP) and its center-right allies Ciutadans supported the first point of a motion presented by Catalunya Sí Que Es Pot (CSQP), a coalition led by the left-leaning anti-austerity party Podemos which proposes modifying the Spain’s penal code via a draft law that is currently making its way through the Catalan regional parliament and enjoys the support of the majority of deputies there. -reports the El Pais.

The proposal joins another, broader one that Unidos Podemos, the coalition between the Communist Party and Podemos recently presented to Congress.

“What does a dignified death mean to each of us as individuals?” asked CSQP deputy Marta Ribas at Thursday’s presentation of the motion. The debate on the right to a dignified death was being put before the regional parliament in defense of, among other things, a change to the penal code so that euthanasia and assisted suicide would no longer be criminal offenses.

According to the Committee on Bioethics of Catalonia, euthanasia is an act carried out by third parties at the express and repeated request of a patient suffering physical or psychological pain as a result of an incurable disease that brings about a rapid, efficient and painless death. Assisted suicide is the act of a person suffering from an irreversible illness ending his or her life with the help of somebody who provides the knowledge and resources to do so.

The regional parliament agreed to set up a body charged with gathering information about the time and place of deaths in Catalonia. “One of the problems the DMD [the Catalan Right to a Dignified Death Association] showed us was that there is no data, or that the data is biased about how people die here. There is information provided on the death certificate, but we don’t know if [people] have received palliative care, if they have died where they wanted… subjective aspects, but that are related to the right to a dignified death,” said Ribas on Thursday.

The text presented on Thursday also makes demands for universal access to palliative care, a service that according to the Catalan regional government’s 2011–2015 Health Plan is already fully available. The regional government will now be required to present a report on whether patients really are being given access to palliative care if they wish it.

Read the rest of the spanish story here

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