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Colombia court approves medically assisted suicide (next to euthanasia)

On Wednesday May 11, Colombia’s constitutional court decided that not only euthanasia but also medically assisted suicide is allowed for people suffering from incurable illnesses. A year ago, our member DescLAB filed this case, with help of the WFRtDS.

In a lot of countries that have (voluntary) assisted dying laws, euthanasia is still forbidden. Colombia is the only country in which euthanasia is allowed but assisted suicide not. Euthanasia is the action that a doctor ends the life of his patient. Assisted suicide is the action that a person self ends its own life after consulting a doctor.

The ruling – backed by six of nine judges – requires that patients meet the standards already in place for euthanasia: they must be diagnosed with an injury or serious or incurable disease which causes intense physical or mental pain they find incompatible with living a dignified life.

Press release of DescLAB

The court decision came after Colombian right-to-die group DescLAB sued the state, arguing that criminalizing those who assist others with suicide violates people’s right to a dignified death and access to medical help. Below you find their press release.

Role of WFRtDS

Below you find the Amicus Curiae of the WFRtDS (in Spanish and English) that we sent to the court a year ago.

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