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Spanish Congress receives a million signatures in favor of euthanasia

On Friday the 12th of July, the Congress in Spain received one million signatures requesting legal changes to decriminalize euthanasia. The million signatures were collected in three different petitions.More than 600,000 people signed a petition on, started by a doctor named Marcos Hourmann. The petition was asking prosecutors not to press charges against Angel Hernandez who was arrested after helping his terminally ill wife die and recording the last moments in a video that made world headlines. Meanwhile Txema Lorente, who watched his wife die without being able to honor his promise to help her go when her Alzheimer’s no longer let her recognize loved ones, has collected more than 374,000 signatures on the same online platform. And Maria Asuncion Gomez, widow of Luis de Marcos,  has added a further 99,000 people supporting the same legislative reform.

Surveys carried out in the last few decades unequivocally show popular support of around 84% for laws regulating it. The latest Sociometro survey in the Basque Country showed 86% support.

“Support remains stable through time and across ideologies, with barely a bump when it touches on religious beliefs. This tells us that the idea has
matured socially, that it wants to have the right to this way out”, explains Rafael Serrano del Rosal, a researcher at the Institute of Advanced Social Studies at the Superior Scientific Council (CSIC). Rafael Serrano del Rosal is also president of an organization called ‘Red de Investigacion sobre el Final de la Vida’ (End-of-life Research Network) that brings together philosophers, doctors, sociologists and other experts.

Del Rosal: “Euthanasia has been framed as part of the political dispute, not as a debate about the rights or needs of citizens. One party decided it had to position itself as ‘pro-life’ and so the others had to be ‘pro-death’? And this is the heavy-handed way in which the matter has been treated, despite the level of popular support for it”. Serrano del Rosal says that existing fears about euthanasia are due to popular arguments of the type that some people just don’t want to take care of their loved ones, or that if you open up that door, later we will have eugenics and start terminating anyone who is deemed undesirable.

Read more on the website of ElPais