Legislation that would legalize euthanasia in Chile was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, and is now set to be debated and eventually brought for a vote in the country’s Senate.
This move coincides with pro-abortion initiatives in Chile, a historically pro-life nation which — like many other Latin American countries — is being targeted by international pro-abortion groups to get rid of its long-held pro-life protections in favor of expanding abortion.
If passed into law, Tuesday’s bill will make it legal for Chileans over 18 years old to be euthanized or to receive assistance in taking their own lives. It would allow for doctors to prescribe and administer a deadly drug to a patient (euthanasia) or prescribe the deadly drug which the patient would then take to kill herself (assisted suicide). The requirements the legislation outlines for a patient seeking either measure are that 1) the person must be diagnosed by two doctors with a serious and incurable disease, 2) the patient is conscious or was conscious when the request was made, and 3) the patient’s suffering is considered an unbearable physical ailment.
The bill’s main political proponents are the Broad Front, a Chilean coalition made of left-wing parties and groups, and the Chilean Communist Party.
In opposition to the bill, lawmaker Leónidas Romero said the bill’s supporters “are suffering from the James Bond syndrome: license to kill.” The AP reports that the anti-euthanasia group “Community and Justice” opposes the bill “because human dignity is inherent in all people. It is not lost through suffering or disease.”
Those in support of the legislation have attempted to assure concerned citizens and medical professionals that any doctors who morally object to euthanasia and assisted suicide may refuse to participate. In some countries where euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legalized, doctors have expressed serious concerns about patients being pressured into these measures rather than receiving actual medical treatment.
Though the bill does not allow for third parties to request euthanasia or assisted suicide for someone else at this time, a real concern with such legislation is that those who are incapacitated, disabled, mentally ill, and other vulnerable citizens are protected from being targeted for elimination.
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