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Spanish officials: Euthanasia, which has claimed 180 lives, has made country more ‘decent’

Spain’s Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, made an announcement last week that 180 people have died by euthanasia since the country legalized the practice one year ago.

“These are 180 people who we have helped to die with dignity,” Darias said at an event commemorating the one-year anniversary. She also added her belief that the legalization of assisted suicide has helped Spanish society become “more humane, more just, and more decent.”

“Thanks to this law coming into force, the National Health System is more inclusive and comprehensive for having this service. It is something that people have been requesting for a long time, and the government has responded to that,” she said.

The country’s euthanasia laws were enacted in June 2021. They allow for either euthanasia or assisted suicide if the patient suffers a serious, chronic, or debilitating disease and/or incurable illness, and if the patient experiences untolerable suffering.

READ: Spain criminalizes pro-life outreach at abortion facilities

Spanish newspaper The Local notes that the euthanasia figures may be even higher, as the totals don’t include data from the regions of Asturias and La Rioja. The paper also notes that while the practice has been enthusiastically pushed by the government, there are still many doctors who are uncomfortable with the idea, and who refuse to commit euthanasia or approve of assisted suicide.

Dr. Ángel Hernández Gil, president of Ethics Commission of the Andalusian Council of Medical Associations, said this week that “there are a very large number of doctors who are conscientious objectors” though these doctors are not officially counted in the statistics “because they are only registering as conscientious objectors when the request arrives. In the event that the application does not arrive, people will not register.”

The paper also quoted a doctor named Hernández Gil, who said that many doctors believe that euthanasia “is not within the purpose of medicine.”

“Our position has nothing to do with any kind of political ideology, religious principle or moral principles,” Gil said. “We understand that euthanasia is not a medical act.”

Despite the celebratory mood of Spanish officials who were commemorating the one-year anniversary of legalized death, government-sanctioned killing is never something to celebrate. Studies have revealed that many who choose to commit assisted suicide do so because they are depressed, lonely, and afraid of being a burden. Life is something to be cherished, celebrated, and fought for, not thrown away or disposed of because someone feels it is no longer worth living.

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