Spanish Minister of Justice says government will not seek legalization of euthanasia…for now

.- The Socialist government in Spain has decided not to use an upcoming reform of the country’s Penal Code to legalize euthanasia, according to Minister of Justice, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar.  The announcement came as left-wing lawmakers restarted debate on the issue in the wake of an apparent assisted suicide by a severely handicapped man.

According to the ABC newspaper, before the announcement, the country’s Health Minister, Elena Salgado, had indicated there was not a consensus in Spain on the legalization of euthanasia.  “This is a debate that should not take place at this time,” she said.

Writer Lopez Aguilar emphasized that the government considers “sufficient” the consensus achieved in 1995, when Spain’s laws on health care were relaxed to allow for the omission of treatments that are “beyond what is humanly possible to bear.”  

The Justice Minister said that while the government will move ahead with its plan to reform the Penal Code, it will not seek any changes in the laws referring to euthanasia.  It will, however, seek to bolster “the will and autonomy” of patients in other areas, such as palliative care, cases of terminal illness or informed consent in order to receive certain treatments.

Left-wing lawmakers said they intended to present a bill that would regulate euthanasia and the “right” to death with dignity.

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