The Spanish parliament’s lower house recently passed a law legalizing euthanasia, making it the fourth European country to grant individuals the right to end their own lives under specific criteria.
A total of 202 votes in favor of the legislation, Spanish Prime Minister (PM) Pedro Sánchez tweeted “The euthanasia law, widely demanded by society, has finally become a reality.”
Under the law, a person must be an adult, legal citizen of Spain that suffers from an incurable illness or crippling disability that induces intolerable suffering.
After producing two written requests under full awareness and consciousness, submitted 15 days apart, approval will either be granted or denied based on eligibility, by two doctors and an evaluation body.
Upon approval, the individual may either opt for euthanasia performed by a doctor, or assisted suicide wherein the person will be aided by medical professionals in ending their life themselves.
The bill was backed by PM Sánchez’s Socialist Party, as well as liberals and centrist groups. Right-to-die advocates also pushed for the passage of the law.
Conservative and religious groups heavily opposed the bill that is set to be implemented in June.
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said that by passing the legislation, the country heads “…towards a more humane and fair society.”
Prior to the law’s passage, it was possible to be jailed for up to ten years for performing euthanasia.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, Senate Bill No. 1887 or the Natural Death Act, was filed by the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago in 2013 that sought to legalize euthanasia in the country.
This too was met by staunch opposition from religious and conservative sectors however, resulting in euthanasia remaining illegal in the country to this day.