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Right-to-die bill in Catalunya, Spain

A  bill aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia will be presented to the Regional Parliament of Catalunya, Spain. The draft-proposal to modify Spain’s penal code was initiated by a coalition of 4 left-parties, which is called the Catalunya Sí Que es Pot (CSQP). The proposal is supported by a majority of deputies in the parliament. Only the conservative Popular Party and center-right party are against. The draft bill would make providing euthanasia and assisted suicide no longer criminal offences.


The text also makes demands for universal access to palliative care. Palliative care is already available in Spain, but it is not clear whether patients actually receive the care when they need it. The regional government is asked to present a report on the practice of palliative care. Besides that, the regional parliament also called on the government to raise awareness through a media campaign about patients’ rights to make advance directives. 


The proposal was put on for debate in the second half of January. Marcos Ariel Hourmann, the first doctor to be condemned for euthanasia in Spain, was also present at the debate. In 2005, he gave a lethal injection to an 85-year-old woman suffering from an incurable disease at her express request, and with the support of her family. A case was brought against Hourmann by the Spanish public prosecutor’s office, which led to a one-year prison sentence.


In order to take the next step in the realisation of the proposal, the Catalan Parliament has to bring the request to the Federal Parliament in Madrid. This is expected to happen in the upcoming months.


For the full proposal (in Spanish), click here. For an English version, click here.