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Spanish regulation of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide

Abstract

In March 2021, the Spanish Congress approved the law regulating euthanasia, that regulates both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS). In this article, we analyse the Spanish law regulating euthanasia and PAS, comparing it with the rest of the European laws on euthanasia and PAS (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg). Identified strengths of the Spanish law, with respect to other norms, are that it is a law with many safeguards, which broadly recognises professionals’ right to conscientious objection and the specification that it makes on the prior comprehensive care of the patient, including the approach to care dependency. Regarding its shortcomings, the law does not differentiate well between euthanasia and PAS; it barely assigns a role to the healthcare team as a whole (similar to other regulations); it does not clarify the functions of the different professionals involved; it does not detail the specific composition and duration of theevaluation commission; it has not been accompanied by a prior or simultaneous regulation of palliative care; and, lastly, the period of time to implement the law is too short.

  • euthanasia
  • palliative care
  • end-of-life

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