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A Dignified and Compassionate Death:Euthanasia and its Global Contradictions

Written by Tamarindo News

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In many countries of the world, the issue of euthanasia is like a labyrinth with no way out, with endless opinions and unfinished debates.Costa Rica, does not escape the proposals on the practice of euthanasia, it is already the second time that the deputy Paola Vega, presents the bill to regulate the right of every human being.

This second presentation in Costa Rica was after what happened in Medellín (Colombia), with Martha Sepúlveda, a woman who has suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for several years. Martha was hopeful about euthanasia for her, but hours before it was performed the procedure was canceled due to -legal resources-.

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In Colombia the situation has been of much discussion between progressives and conservatives, because Sepúlveda was going to be the first woman to be euthanized without having a terminal illness.

Meanwhile in Costa Rica, there is a mitigation for assisted death in current legislation. This mitigation is within the Penal Code of the Central American country through mercy killing, regulated in article 116 of the Penal Code, however, there is no regulation for active euthanasia.

Euthanasia in the countries of the world

Most of the countries that have approved euthanasia are European.There are Latin American nations like Colombia, where euthanasia was decriminalized in 1997, but only became law in 2015. Since then, 157 processes have been carried out.

According to representatives of the country, the aid to die must be provided – a medical professional – with the authorization of a scientific-interdisciplinary committee.

In Argentina, the Senate approved a law in 2012 authorizing the rejection of treatments that artificially prolong the life of patients with terminal symptoms. In that same year, but in Chile, also patients in terminal states may reject the continuity of treatment. In Mexico, the situation is similar.

In Uruguay, they have a well-known law for an advance directive or to die well, which also regulates the freedom of a patient to refuse treatment, including palliative care.

When mentioning the Netherlands, we want to highlight, that it was the first place in the world to approve active euthanasia in April 2002.Following approval in the Netherlands, Belgium also legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.There is a big difference and that is that Belgium became the first country to euthanize a minor.

New Zealand was the first country in the world in which euthanasia was submitted to a referendum, along with the general election ballots at the end of 2020.Spain became the fourth country in Europe to approve euthanasia. After a vote in Parliament with 202 votes in favor, 141 against and two abstentions, the European nation joined the short list of countries in which euthanasia is legal and the right of terminally ill patients to a worthy death.

In 2009, the Parliament of Luxembourg approved the legalization of euthanasia. Terminally ill patients have the option of requesting the procedure after receiving approval from two physicians and a panel of experts.

In Canada, euthanasia called “medical assistance to die” and was legalized alongside assisted suicide in June 2016.

Do you know more details about Assisted Suicide?

There are countries where active euthanasia is prohibited, but there are regulations that allow other forms of “compassionate death”, such as assisted suicide.In assisted suicide, health personnel deliver drugs for a patient to end his life.

The practice is legal in countries such as: Germany, Switzerland, the Australian state of Victoria and in the US states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) and also in the District of Columbia.

Beyond all the opinions for or against the practice of euthanasia or assisted suicide in the world, at TCRN we would like to know if you agree that this practice is legal in Costa Rica, leave us your point of view.

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