22 Mar, 2023 @ 20:30
1 min read

Spain’s Constitutional Court votes to uphold euthanasia law

SPAIN’S Constitutional Court has voted to uphold the country’s euthanasia law, which has been in force since June 2021 and was appealed against at the tribunal by far-right Vox and the conservative Popular Party (PP).

This ruling, which came in at nine votes for the law and two against, covered the appeal by Vox, which argued that the legislation was illegal on the basis that it went against the right to life enshrined in the Spanish Constitution. 

However, the magistrates concluded that there is no part of the euthanasia law that can be called unconstitutional, on the basis that Spanish citizens can freely, voluntarily and consciously request euthanasia once ‘all of the legal conditions are met’. 

The court considers that the Constitution covers a right for self-determination, which allows for a person to choose the moment they would like to die in situations such as terminal illnesses or serious incapacitation. 

The two magistrates who voted against the law are on the conservative side of the court, while two other conservative judges voted in favour of it. 

Last June, on the first anniversary of the euthanasia law, Health Minister Carolina Darias announced that 180 people had successfully requested euthanasia. In 22 of these cases, she also announced, organs had been donated for 68 separate transplants. 

The law was introduced by the Socialist Party, which governs in coalition with junior partner Unidas Podemos. It received the support of parties such as Ciudadanos and the Catalan Republican Left, and was only voted against by the PP, Vox and Together for Catalunya.

When the law was passed, Spain became the fourth European country to legalise the procedure and is one of seven countries worldwide where it is permitted.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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