About 180 euthanasia performed in Spain a year after the law came into force

A year after the law came into force, around 180 euthanasias have already been performed in Spain, one of the few countries in the world that allows a patient with an incurable disease to die to end their suffering.

"To date, around 180 euthanasias have been performed since this law came into force (June 25, 2021), 180 people we have helped to die with dignity," Spanish Health Minister Carolina said on Friday. Darias, during a conference on the occasion of this anniversary.

Spain is the fourth European country to have decriminalized euthanasia, after the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The minister welcomed this “new health service in the health system (…) which allows access with more guarantee to one of the most precious things of the human condition: dignity, freedom and 'independence of will' and which makes Spain 'a more decent society'.

Carolina Darias also specified that these 180 euthanasias had given rise to 68 transplants thanks to 22 donors. The country is the world champion in organ donation, a title held for more than 30 years.

The left-wing government had made a priority of this law adopted in March 2021 by Parliament, which allows both euthanasia (when the caregiver causes the death of the patient) and medically assisted suicide (when the patient takes the dose of product prescribed to kill oneself).

It provides that anyone with “a serious and incurable illness” or “chronic pain placing them in a situation of incapacity” can request help from the medical profession to die and thus avoid “intolerable suffering”.

However, strict conditions govern the process: the person, Spanish or residing in the country, must thus have all their capacities and be "aware" when they make the request, which must be formulated in writing "without external pressure" and renewed fifteen days later.

The doctor may reject this request if he considers that these criteria are not met or assert his conscientious objection. In addition, it must be approved by another doctor and given the green light by an evaluation committee.

This law had divided public opinion in Spain and aroused opposition from right-wing parties and the Catholic Church.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

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