Catholic experts warn against bill that would legalize euthanasia in Uruguay


This week the John Paul II Archdiocesan Institute of Bioethics warned that a new bill being discussed in the Uruguayan Parliament will not provide sufficient guarantees to prevent euthanasia from being adopted.


In an official statement, the experts said that the law “manifests the laudable intention of avoiding unnecessary treatment, which consists of applying disproportionate therapeutic means that affect the quality of life of the patient without a reasonable hope of significant benefits in terms of health or survival.”


“However, it has the grave defect of not putting the same care in avoiding the opposite extreme, that is, the omission of assistance to the patient in cases in which he could recover or save his life. This means that it does not give sufficient guarantees that it is not legalizing, in practice, euthanasia,” the Institute stated.


The criteria that is usually applied to distinguish in between avoiding extraordinary measures and practicing euthanasia “is that which distinguishes proportionate from disproportionate therapeutic means,” the statement indicated. “To withdraw or not apply the former is euthanasia, and to apply the latter is unnecessary treatment.”


The Institute also pointed out that the bill is gravely insufficient because “in the most delicate of cases, in which the person has not expressed his or her will beforehand, and he or she is not in a position to manifest it in the present, the decision is left exclusively in the hands of family members, who lack the technical competence necessary to discern this.”