The Chamber of Deputies of Chile passed a bill on Tuesday to allow the euthanasia and assisted suicide for those over 18 years of age in one of the most conservative countries in Latin America. The initiative is now up for debate in the Senate.
The project on “Dignified death and palliative care”, which entered Congress in 2014 promoted by the center-left opposition, was voted mostly article by article by the 141 deputies who attended the session.
The government of the president Sebastian Piñera is opposed to the project, as the Secretary General of the Presidency, Juan José Ossa, recently pointed out, so it is not ruled out that the bill will reach the Constitutional Court if it advances in the Senate.
The initiative seeks to regulate two situations: when a doctor administers a drug to the patient that will cause death, known as euthanasia, and assisted suicide, when a doctor gives the drug to the patient so that he can take it himself.
One of the paragraphs the bill refers to “the right not to suffer intolerable pain and suffering, to avoid artificial prolongation of life and to request medical assistance to die,” said leftist deputy Vlado Milosevic.
Cecilia Heyder, the 53-year-old, who hopes to be the first to use euthanasia if it is finally approved, told The Associated Press last week that “it is my dream to fall asleep and not wake up anymore. That is what I am waiting for because it is not life that I am leading”.
The woman suffers from metastatic breast cancer, lupus, and a couple of years ago she developed a deficiency in Factor VII, one of the proteins involved in blood clotting.
Cecilia Heyder, a Chilean activist for the right to a dignified death and suffering from metastatic cancer, lupus and a blood disorder, walks after an interview with The Associated Press.
“That causes me multiple hemorrhages, bruises in December they already evicted me, (the doctors said) that I have no remedy,” he added.
Pablo Villar, Heyder’s lawyer, had criticized the project’s slow progress. “Doña Cecilia cannot wait any longer,” he said.
The pro-government deputy Leónidas Romero said that the leftist Frente Amplio and the Communist Party, promoters of the project, “are suffering from the James Bond syndrome: license to kill.”
The official Francisco Undurraga assured that the project enshrines “the full will of professionals (doctors) to refrain from performing these benefits, the same happens with institutions (such as private clinics).”
The bill establishes that a doctor can refuse to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide.
The opposition deputy Leonardo Soto assured, for his part, that the decision of the terminally ill to use the law, in the case of crystallization, “will always depend on the same person, the same patient.”
One of the articles states that a third party cannot request euthanasia or assisted suicide.
If it is successful, the law could only resort to a person diagnosed by two doctors with a serious and irremediable illness, who is conscious when requesting its application or who has previously established it and who suffers intolerable physical ailments.
Current legislation on the rights and duties of patients allows terminally ill patients to refuse medical treatment that seeks to artificially extend their life.
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