End of life > Euthanasia and assisted suicide
- The new Spanish law on euthanasia contested against the Constitutional Court a few days before its entry into force
Friday June 25 is the stipulated date for the Spanish new law on euthanasia entry into force, exactly three months after its approval and publication in the Spanish Official Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado). With this law (Ley Orgánica 3/2021), Spain becomes the eighth country in the world legalizing both physician-assisted suicide and active euthanasia, following the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Canada, Colombia, New Zealand, and some states in Australia.
The law recognizes a new right, the right to euthanasia, which, according to the law, consists in the death of a person caused in a direct and intentional manner after the informed, explicit, and repeated request of that person, in a context of suffering caused by an incurable illness and which is conceived by the person as intolerable. The text of the law tries to ground this new right on other constitutional rights, such as the right to life, the right to physical integrity, the right to human dignity and the right to a...
The European Institute of Bioethics (EIB) has published a report (available in French and Dutch) on the 2020 Belgian euthanasia report indicating that the number of reported assisted deaths increased by 12.6% in 2019 to 2656. The 2019 Belgian euthanasia report, indicated that there were 2357 reported assisted deaths in 2018. There were 954 reported assisted deaths in 2010 representing a 267% increase in 9 years.
The Belgian euthanasia commission admits that it "does not have the possibility of evaluating the proportion of the number of euthanasia's declared in relation to the number of euthanasia's actually carried out."
A NEJM study examining 2013 Belgian deaths and euthanasia commission data concluded that almost half of the euthanasia deaths in 2013 were not reported to the commission.
The same NEJM study also concluded that more than 1000 deaths (1.7%) were hastened without explicit request in 2013.
The 2020 Belgium euthanasia data states that 57 people died by e...
Position of the WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WMA) on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide – Chronological overview (1987-2019)
In October 2019, the World Medical Association1 (WMA) adopted a declaration on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. This new declaration is an opportunity to analyze the documents successively adopted by the WMA on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in recent years, and to identify possible evolutions in this area. This Expert Flash reviews each of the relevant documents, and compares the terms used and positions adopted. It emerges that, while terms slightly vary, WMA's position remains stable and consistent in its opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide from a medical ethics perspective.