Spanish deputies approve euthanasia bill in first reading

The Spanish Chamber of Deputies approved on Thursday (12.17.2020) by a large majority, in first reading, a bill that guarantees the right to euthanasia under strict conditions, despite opposition from the Catholic Church and conservative opposition.

The text was adopted by 198 votes in favor, 138 against and two abstentions. He will go to the Senate next year.

The project foresees that a person suffering from a serious, incapacitating or incurable illness, can be helped to die if requested, to avoid intolerable suffering.

The demand must be made in writing and repeated fifteen days later. Two doctors must give their approval successively, and then it will be examined by a commission.

Professionals who do not wish to participate in euthanasia may declare their "conscientious objection". The cost of the procedure will be reimbursed by Social Security.

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"It is an important day for all citizens because we are moving towards a more humane and just society, but above all it is an important day for those people who are in a situation of serious suffering ", reacted the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa.

The minister assured that the polls show a "very broad support" from society Spanish to euthanasia.

However, deputy José Ignacio Echániz, from the opposition Popular Party, assured that the bill was done "in a hurry". "It is a defeat for all, a failure of our health system and our society," he added.

Since coming to power in 2018, the Socialists had tried twice in vain to pass a euthanasia law, a fact that is currently punishable by up to 10 years in prison.