pro-euthanasia group “Right to Death with Dignity” (RDD) publicly
admitted this week that it provided “technical information” to help a
paraplegic man “end his life.”
The group’s spokesman, Angela Maria Jaramilla, said Jorge Leon Escudero of Valladolid “contacted us through email asking for our help. We gave him ‘technical’ information in accord with Spain’s current health laws.”
Jaramillo called for “public recognition” of individuals such as Jorge Leon and Ramon San Pedro—another handicapped man who committed suicide with the help of a relative in 1998—“who have lent their names in order to bring this struggle into society.”
The president of RDD, Fernando Marin, said helping to end the life of someone “who irreversibly suffers a deteriorated life is an appropriate act of compassion for a civilized society in which the freedom of each human being is respected.” Those who help others free themselves of “absurd suffering” should have “great reason to be proud of this act of compassion toward one’s neighbor,” he sated.
Leon Escudero, 53, who was left a paraplegic after an accident seven years ago, was found dead in his wheelchair and disconnected from the artificial respirator which helped keep him alive. On his internet blog he had recently indicated his interest in contacting someone who would “lend a helping hand” in ending his life.
In the wake of Leon Escudero’s death, numerous associations have publicly announced their support, not only for euthanasia, but also for pressuring government leaders and influencing public opinion on the issue.
The spokesman for the Federation of Associations for the Defense of Public Health, Javier Gonzalez, said that euthanasia is an inalienable right equivalent to the right to life and that the government was burying its head in the sand by claiming it is not yet time to debate the issue.
Likewise the Association of Progressive Doctors claimed this week that Spaniards “are now ready” to have the debate on euthanasia “as soon as possible”. The group said cutting short the lives of those suffering from incurable or terminal illnesses is a “fundamental right in any secular, plural and democratic state.”
Police suspect that someone assisted Leon Escudero in killing himself although the final results of an autopsy have not yet been obtained.