Spain approves euthanasia law


Spain approved a law permitting euthanasia on Thursday by a 202 to 141 vote in parliament, making it the fourth European Union country to do so.

"Today, a majority of parliament has borne witness to people who are ill who have been clamoring for years for this right," Socialist Party MP Maria Luisa Carcedo said during the final debate.

Spain's euthanasia law permits people who have "serious, chronic illness with no chance of recovery and with unbearable suffering" to request assistance from a doctor to end their life, according to the bill posted on parliament's website.

The law, due to take effect in three months, would stop the current potential jail terms for people who help another to end their life. Doctors will not be required to participate in ending a person's life.

Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands already allow euthanasia under certain conditions, Reuters reported. A Portuguese court this week struck down as unconstitutional a euthanasia law there, the Portuguese president's office said.

The governing Socialist Party promoted the law and got support from smaller leftist and other parties. The two main conservative parties opposed it.

Thursday's vote was the final step in becoming law.

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