SPAIN has moved one step closer to passing a historic bill to allow medically assisted suicide after a landmark cabinet meeting yesterday.
The bill, which will allow the administering of lethal drugs to long suffering patients, was backed by several political parties including Spain’s left-wing coalition government.
Conservative Partido Popular and Vox were the only rejections in a 198 to 138 victory.
Following the ruling, a small group of ‘anonymous’ mask wearing protesters wearing skull and cross bones jackets gathered outside the parliament building, however the ruling gained widespread support from across the country.
According to the bill, patients must request the willingness to die on four separate occasions, the first two in writing over a period of two weeks.
It must also be overseen by a medical team lead by a physician and an independent doctor, and the patient must be of sound mind at the time of the requests.
The local governing boards will examine the requests and ultimately grant permission for the process to begin.
The bill will also allow any doctor to refuse to perform the procedure on the grounds of their beliefs.
“As a society, we cannot remain impassive when faced with the intolerable pain that many people suffer,” said Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa.
Currently, assisted suicide is only legal in Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Columbia, New Zealand and certain US states.
Portugal passed a similar bill back in February to legalise euthanasia, however they are yet to become laws.
The bill will now pass to the Senate, where it will go to the vote with legal experts expecting it to pass without resistance.
It will then be entered into the official Bulletin where it will take up to three months to come into effect.