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News > Latin America

Chile Proposes 'Passive Euthanasia' With Fresh Bill

  • The first option involves an 'interruption in medical treatment,' which allows the individual to die naturally.

    The first option involves an 'interruption in medical treatment,' which allows the individual to die naturally. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 May 2018

Chilean Senator Guido Girardi initially tried to legalize 'passive euthanasia' in 2006, but the bill failed.

In a push to regulate assisted suicide, Chilean Senator Guido Girardi has outlined a new law which supports 'passive euthanasia' and the right to a 'dignified death.'

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"A person faced with a dramatic and catastrophic situation, where pain is consuming their quality of life, they have the right to decide the future of their life," said Girardi, also a medical professional.

"We are not talking about suicide because we must clearly establish that there are objective conditions that make the quality of life of that person unworthy," the senator said.

According to the new legislation, patients interested in euthanasia would be offered two options: the first would involve an "interruption in medical treatment," allowing the individual to die of natural causes.

"And a second criterion, which is active euthanasia, where the person can – advised by medical personnel – self-administer a medication that can cause death," Girardi told Cooperativa.

Former minister of health and supporter of the bill, Helia Molina, said she believed people have the right to end their lives when their current state of health equates to torture.

The initiative "reflects a progressive transversality" which, Molina said, has won support from various political parties, including the Democratic Party (PPD); the Frente Amplio; the Communist Party of Chile (PC), and some parliamentarians.

"This project allows the human being to make decisions at very critical moments of his life," Molina said. "We are legislating on a very particular situation of the terminally ill and that makes it clear that we are not promoting suicide."

Although Girardi first attempt to legalize the bill failed in 2006, changes over the past 15 years and the interest of Congress in debating the issue bear witness to the progress made around the controversial topic, Deputy Tucapel Jimenez said.

"The idea is that it is being discussed in both Chambers and that this can be a law as soon as possible. I wish the government studied the possibility of sponsoring these initiatives," Jimenez said.

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