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Religious Groups in Spain Condemn Euthanasia Bill

Six religious groups in Spain gathered together to present a joint manifesto condemning the imminent approval of a euthanasia law early next year.

The representatives of the Spanish Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Reformed Church of Spain (Anglican Communion), three Orthodox Church branches, the Islamic Commission of Spain, the Hindu Federation and the Rabbinic Council of Spain signed on December 11 a document entitled, “Artisans of life and hope.”

We ask our authorities to edify a society based in the inviolable value of the dignity and the human life, and we reject laws that attack them.

The manifesto criticized the proposed euthanasia law as an “attack against life.” Instead of pushing for assisted suicide, the document said the Spanish government should improve and strengthen palliative care to patients, reports Evangelical Focus.

“We ask our authorities to edify a society based in the inviolable value of the dignity and the human life, and we reject laws that attack them. Today we are especially concerned about the processing of the euthanasia law. We defend an adequate legislation,” the religious representatives said.

If passed, Spain will be the sixth country in the world to legalize euthanasia. Its euthanasia law will allow patients “suffering from a severe, chronic and crippling illness which prevents them from being self-sufficient, or suffering from a serious and incurable disease causing constant unbearable physical or mental suffering which cannot be alleviated to a bearable degree” to request for it. The procedure can de done not only in health centers, but in the patient’s home as well, according to EuroWeekly News.

During the inter-religious dialogue, the representatives shared their sentiments against the draft law. The Anglican representative, Bishop Carlos López, emphasized the importance of “caring for one another and respect life” while the Orthodox representative Demetrio underlined “the human body does not belong to the State.”

The manifesto called on lawmakers to consider the sides of all citizens before passing the draft law. As early as March, another religious organization, the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, already expressed its opposition against the bill. The evangelical body suggested other options such as boosting the country’s health care system instead of legalizing euthanasia.

“The number of patients who consider euthanasia as an option diminishes drastically if the alleviation of pain is facilitated, and human accompaniment and resources to combat hopelessness is offered,” they said.

Meantime, the Spanish Bioethics Committee also opposed the right-to-die bill. In a 74-page report, it said, “To legalize euthanasia and/or assisted suicide implies the initiation of the devaluing of human life, whose boundaries are difficult to predict.”

Another 160 legal experts warned that the draft law was unconstitutional. They argued that instead of helping the sick, euthanasia “poses a serious threat to the safety of the oldest and sickest people in society.”

 

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