Colombia: Constitutional Court upholds medically assisted suicide

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Its Constitutional Court Colombia ruled in its favor on Wednesday (11/5) medically assisted suicidethe first Latin American country to allow the suicide of patients suffering from serious or incurable diseases.

Euthanasia – when one patient chooses death through a process in which medical staff are present – it has been legal in Colombia since 1997. Last January, a patient was euthanized for the first time without suffering from a deadly incurable disease.

The decision on assisted suicide – when a man decides to end his life after consulting a doctor – came after the Colombian organization for the right to death DescLAB, claiming that persecution of those who help others commit suicide violates the human right to a dignified death and access to medical care.

According to the verdict – supported by six of the nine judges – patients are required to meet certain conditions in order to proceed with euthanasia: they must have been diagnosed with an injury or serious or incurable disease which causes intense physical or mental pain which they consider incompatible with a dignified life. Patients owe it too to express their desire to complete the procedure with the help of a doctor.

«It is a decisive step for our country, which consolidates its position as one of the most advanced in the world in terms of the right to die with dignity.Said DescLAB chief Lucas Correa in a video message.

People who encourage or help someone commit suicide to stop suffering from an illness are currently facing 16-36 months in prison in Colombia.

127 investigations into such cases have been conducted since 2010 until last August, according to DescLAB.

Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, Spain, Germany and some US states also allow assisted suicide.

Source: News Beast

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