The Archbishop of Bogota, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, defended the right to life of the terminally ill this week in response to legislation that would regulate euthanasia, a practice that “can never be morally illicit.”
“Euthanasia is a crime and all those who participate in it carry out a homicidal act. The State has been erected to defend life, as article 11 of the Colombian Constitution maintains, ‘the right to life is inviolable’,” the cardinal said.
The cardinal’s statement came in response to the debate in the Colombian Senate to regulate euthanasia, which was legalized by the country’s Constitutional Court eleven years ago but not implemented.
“The intentional termination of another person’s life, even if by a qualified third party, always constitutes murder, as neither medical personnel nor family members can make the decision to provoke someone’s death,” the cardinal warned.
He said the right to life should be protected “with greater courage especially in the case of those who are weakest, such as those who are in a vegetative state, the handicapped, newborns and pre-mature babies, and those who suffer from deformities.”
Cardinal Rubiano stressed that “proportionate medical treatment” cannot be refused. “This is not about prolonging the suffering” of the patient, but about defending fundamental principles that were violated by totalitarian regimes that employed similar practices for reasons of “quality of life or race,” he said.
The Colombian Senate recently began a series of four debates on the law that would regulate euthanasia. The first debate ended with a vote in favor of 11-3. According to the law, euthanasia would only be allowed if requested by the patient.