Legislators in Spain have passed a law making euthanasia and assisted suicide legal, making it the sixth country in the world, and the fourth in Europe to approve of such practices.
The BBC reports Spain’s lower house of parliament voted 202 to 141 to pass the measure, which included support from center and left-wing political parties.
Promoted by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, the legislation will allow adults with “serious and incurable” disease that causes “unbearable suffering” to choose to kill themselves.
The law authorizes two ways of allowing a person to end their own life: euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Physicians can euthanize their patients once several requirements are met. These requirements include that patients must be physically conscious, and also must be fully aware of the decision they are making.
A doctor can also reject a euthanasia/assisted suicide request if all of the requirements have not been met. The application also needs the endorsement of a second medical practitioner not involved in the case and approved by a regional medical committee.
The law allows medical workers, whether in the public or private system, to retain the right to choose whether to be involved in a patient’s death. They can withdraw from the procedure on grounds of “conscience.”
Euthanasia — when a doctor directly administers fatal drugs to a patient — is either legal or sanctioned by courts in Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Colombia, and the Netherlands. In Switzerland and some U.S. states, medically assisted suicide — when patients self-administer lethal drugs under medical supervision — is permitted. Portugal’s parliament had sought to pass a similar law, but the effort was stymied after the country’s highest court declared the practice unconstitutional.
Some Spanish politicians believe the passage of the new law helps the country become more humane and free. But conservative and religious groups are condemning the law and have vowed to repeal it in the future.
Spain’s right-wing Vox Party said it will challenge the law in the country’s Constitutional Court. The party’s MP Lourdes Méndez Monasterio told the Catalan News, it puts people’s lives “in the hands of the state.”
Unless legal challenges succeed, the law is expected to take effect in June.
Before it was passed, assisting in a person’s suicide in Spain was punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
HD Editors Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
In 2 Timothy Chapter 3, the apostle Paul describes what the character of mankind would be like in the last days. These characteristics would serve as a sign that Jesus’ return is fast approaching. Among this list is a “Loss of Natural Affection.” This prophetically predicted characteristic is on full display as the murder of the weakest among us (through abortion, euthanasia, etc.) is celebrated and fought for by our godless society.
Answers in Genesis in their Article “Is Euthanasia a Biblical Solution to Terminal Illness or Suffering?” wrote:
As people around the world grapple with the issue of whether euthanasia (“mercy killing”) and physician-assisted suicide should be legal, it is the desire to retain control over our lives until the end that motivates many to push for a legal “right to die” on their own terms. When we realize that this is tantamount to asking for murder-on-demand, the sanitized sounding word euthanasia takes on its true colors.
How should we as Christians view this issue? Whatever direction the legal systems of this and other nations take—and whatever unhappy surprises our own lives may hold for us as individuals and for those we love—how can we be certain that our thinking on this issue is correct? It is quite easy to be caught up in the emotional rhetoric surrounding this subject and to be overwhelmed by emotional distress when we hear bad news from our doctors. Without a firm foundation in the Word of God, the decisions we make and the beliefs we hold about these complex issues may be swayed by emotions and governed by the fallible pronouncements of secular ethics committees or even resource utilization guidelines. Therefore, to prepare ourselves for the unexpected, it is important to base our thinking on the Word of God from the very beginning. Let’s get this straight in our minds now.
From the beginning—back in the Garden of Eden—human beings have wanted to take control of their lives. We see this in the historical account of Eve’s yielding to the serpent’s temptation to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5) and in Adam’s decision to follow her in rebellion to God.
The Bible does not condone the taking of one’s own life or euthanasia. It simply does not. God exhorts us to defend the “speechless … who are appointed to die” (Proverbs 31:8–9), not to kill them. God forbids murder (Exodus 20:13). Euthanasia—the destruction of another person’s life even to end their suffering—is a form of murder. It is wrong to do it and wrong to ask someone to do it for you. Having the choice to “shuffle off this mortal coil” through our own hand or the hand of another is not God’s plan for us. We human beings do not have the authority to make that decision for ourselves or our loved ones.
Yet despite all the appealing talk of “dying with dignity”—and who in their right mind would desire to die without dignity—suicide, even when assisted by a physician’s lethal prescription, and euthanasia—which is just a nice word for murder with a presumably merciful motive—are not acceptable options unless we are nothing more than animals.
But we are not just animals! We—every one of us—are all made in his image and therefore all human beings have lives of special value to God, so much so that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, gave his own life for us (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 2:9–10). God’s account of creation recorded in the Bible is consistent with what wesee in the physical world and validates his ownership of humanity and his right to set our standards. And apart from a source of truth from someone greater than man, no person’s moral judgments are more valid than another’s. Human beings have many ideas about right and wrong, but as described in the biblical book of Judges, when God’s Word is ignored, everyone does what is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25), and that is a recipe for disaster as much now as it was during the days described in the book of Judges. Only God who created mankind is justly in a position of moral authority over all mankind.
We must not, therefore, yield the ground to those exhorting us to embrace death prematurely—much less to put subtle pressure on others to do so—but rather focus on how we live in the light of God’s truth until life’s end.
This is a complex issue, and this article is not intended to address every aspect, much less to review the legal ramifications of laws and court decisions that can change in a day. This is, instead, a reminder that we need to base our thinking on the Word of God, which never changes and can be trusted to guide us through life and death.