Spanish Congress set to debate controversial euthanasia bill

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RiGHT TO DIE: At present, Spanish law dictates that euthanasia and physician-assisted death is a crime. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

THE Spanish socialist government is preparing a bill to make it legal for terminally ill patients to end their lives through euthanasia.

At present, Spanish law dictates that euthanasia and physician-assisted death is a crime.

During the spring of this year, Spain’s socialist party (PSOE) introduced a proposal bill in favour of regulating euthanasia which was promptly blocked by conservative opposition.

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However, Spain’s Popular Party (PP) has now agreed to unblock the proposed bill and it now set to be debated by Spanish Congress.

Led by Pablo Casado, PP are expected to use the congressional debate to strongly oppose the euthanasia bill and are set to offer an alternative proposal during the debate.

Today marks the deadline for amendments to the proposed euthanasia bill and Spanish congress are set to debate the bill on October 25.

PSOE’s bill, which supports an individual’s right to decide when to end their life when suffering from ‘a serious and incurable disease’ or ‘a serious, chronic and irreversible disability that causes them unbearable suffering.’

The proposed bill would offer euthanasia via both private and public healthcare, giving all medical professionals the right to abstain as conscientious objectors.

PSOE’s bill is thought to have backing from the majority of Congress representatives, Podemos, the Basque Nationalist Party, the Catalan Republican Left and the Democratic Party of Catalonia.

However, the Partido Popular is expected to counter PSOE’s proposal by backing a separate initiative advocating palliative care in the later stages of an individual’s life.

PP’s counter-proposal will likely be supported by the Ciudadanos party who have favoured palliative care as an alternative to euthanasia in the past.

Spanish Congress holds 350 seats and when the issue of euthanasia is debated next week, PSOE’s bill will require 176 votes to be passed as law.

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