The legislative assembly of Mexico City has approved a law allowing terminally ill patients to reject treatments that would not be life-saving and would only prolong suffering.
The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Father Hugo Valdemar, explained that the Church has never supported prolonged suffering and therefore the new law would not be against Church teaching. However, he asked that the new norm not be manipulated for promoting euthanasia in the future.
He also criticized lawmakers who during debate on the law claimed that Pope John Paul II decided not to suffering during his final illness. “That is simply stupid, and it is a very delicate issue. The Pope remained conscious up to the moment of death,” Father Valdemar said.
The new law would allow for living wills in which a person could specify that he or she would not want extraordinary means to be used to keep them alive or to receive treatment that would only prolong suffering and offer no chance for improvement.
The living will would have to be confirmed by a public notary, a judge and two witnesses, who cannot be immediate family members or minors.