Spain to join a handful of countries to allow euthanasia to be available on the state health system to end suffering for humans in extremity

Updated 17 December 2020: It’s nearly six years ago that I posted the original report below about the Canarian Parliament’s dignified death law. It was never a euthanasia law but it was the best Spain had at the time, and we had it here. Now, however, as of today, Spain will be at the head of humane policies in Europe with the approval of euthanasia legislation for those in extremity to request assistance to end their lives. Congress has approved by majority vote the law that is expected to come into force around April, three months after its publication in the BOE, expected in the new year.

National Health Minister Salvador Illa said that the law represents Spain’s passage to a more humane and fairer society. As a culture, Illa said, we cannot remain unmoved by the intolerable suffering that many people endure, and the Government will make the right to euthanasia immediately effective through the health system. The measure has to be approved by the Senate but this seems a foregone conclusion now. Spain is about to join a group of countries that one can almost count on one hand where outdated religious dogma no longer requires human beings to suffer in a way that would never be permitted for animals.  

Original post 27 January 2015: The Canarian Parliament has today approved a law to guarantee dignity in death for terminal patients. The law, Ley de Derechos y Garantías de la Dignidad de la Persona ante el Proceso Final de su Vida, known as the Ley de muerte digna (Dignified Death Act) aims to ensure that the end of a terminal patient’s life is without suffering, and gives patients themselves the right to decide about palliative care when the prognosis allows for no hope. The bill was not passed without controversy, with the (conservative) PP failing in a pro-life attempt to remove certain clauses “to avoid confusing the public”, but the Canarian health service has now legalised what is effectively free choice for euthanasia where a patient is terminal and wishes to die in a dignified way without pain.


  1. So many of our greatest minds have had to go so far to get peace for themselves. I am delighted to see Spain stepping up to the mark with this one.
    We came to the Canaries to give us a better end -of-life prospect, what with the beautiful warmth and the better healthcare than the UK. Now this. This gives us peace that we will be allowed not to suffer.
    All the same, we do hope to get a good few more years here in the sun!

  2. Brilliant news! I really believe that one should have a choice when terminally ill.
    Well done to the Canarian government!.

  3. Yours is the only report I can find on this new legislation. Can you point me in the direction of where I can read more detail please?

    1. Author

      I have now inserted a link into the post above to the official Canarian Government publication of this legislation which is the fullest detail there is since it’s the law itself. I think I was the first to report this yesterday, but if you were to google it you’ll find it’s in most of the local Canarian (Spanish) papers today. I don’t believe it’s in any English-language papers yet, though Tenerife News did share the link from my post yesterday on Facebook, so they have it – but what they have is my report, so you’re no better off really. The best thing is to go straight to the law itself, and the link is now above.

  4. I think this is so right.

  5. How I welcome this new bill allowing the final act of life to be done with dignity when a terminal illness can so prevent this being accomplished. I have witnessed family members dying very undignified, drawn out deaths knowing that they had a terminal outcome and one family member even attempting an unsucessful suicide such was the suffering being endured. How he would have welcomed this bill being passed in the UK, having previously requested that he be allowed to die peacefully. As a retired midwife, nurse, neo-natal nurse I have experienced undignified deaths when carrying out the final act of nursing to terminally ill patients and welcome wholeheartedly this ‘ Law of Death with Dignity’.

  6. This is a fantastic brake through. Congratulations to the Canarian government in their humanitarian forward thinking.

  7. We have control over so many aspects in our life, and in my nursing career I have seen people die in painful and undignified ways, I full support this new law, I hope the UK too can change its attitude to euthanasia.

  8. I wholeheartedly agree with this. Everyone should have the right to die with dignity.

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