Spain’s parliament has today approved a law legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with serious and incurable or debilitating diseases who want to end their life.
Spain becomes the fourth country in the European Union to approve such a law.
“Today, a majority of parliament has borne witness to people who are ill who have been clamouring for years for this right,” Socialist Party MP Maria Luisa Carcedo said.
She cited the case of Ramon Sampedro, a paralyzed Spaniard who recorded his assisted suicide in 1998, a story later told in the Oscar-winning 2004 movie, “The Sea Inside.”
A total of 202 voted in favour of the law while 141 voted against. Two MPs abstained from the voting.
Helping someone end their life was previously punished with a jail term of up to 10 years.
“Today is an important day: we are heading towards the recognition of human rights. We are heading towards a more humane and fair society,” Health Minister Carolina Darias told MPs.
90% of Spaniards support decriminalising euthanasia
An opinion poll in 2019 revealed that almost 90% of Spaniards supported decriminalising euthanasia.
Rafael Botella, a 35-year-old Spaniard paralysed from the neck down since a car crash at 19, told Reuters before the vote that he was relieved that the law would give him the option in case he needed it. “If for some reason someone is tired of living, no one has the power to tell him, ‘No, you will live because my voters or my ideology tell the contrary’,” Mr Botella said.