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 Spain is about to join a group of countries that one can almost count on one hand where outdated religious dogma no longer requires human beings to suffer in a way that would never be permitted for animals.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.