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Bishops advise Spaniards to carry letter protecting them from euthanasia


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John Burger - published on 01/22/21

If passed, law would make Spain sixth country to allow "mercy killing."

Don’t leave home without it. 

That’s the message, basically, from the Catholic Bishops of Spain, who are renewing their longstanding invitation for concerned citizens to draft a living will to protect against being involuntarily killed under a government-backed euthanasia law. 

In December, Spanish lawmakers voted in favor of a law decriminalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. If the Senate gives it final approval, Spain would be Europe’s sixth country to allow active euthanasia.

“This proposed law says euthanasia cannot be applied if the person has previously signed a document with instructions, a living will, advance directives or equivalent legally recognized documents,” the Spanish Bishops’ Conference said on its website. 

“Given the possible approval of the euthanasia law, it is necessary to prevent its abusive application when informed consent cannot be expressed. We are encouraging the faithful to sign such a document to avoid violating the dignity and freedom of disabled people, and to help humanize the death process through material and spiritual assistance.”

According to the bishops’ plan, which has existed since 2002, people could carry a letter that asks that they not be kept alive with “disproportionate treatments” in an “irretrievable, critical situation.” The letter requests “appropriate care to alleviate suffering” and not be subjected to euthanasia.

The Tablet reported on the initiative, saying: 

The Conference said the advance directive would apply in cases where a patient could not decide on his own health due to disability, illness, accident or old age, and would also assert the right to spiritual care, including “the consolation of Christian faith through the sacraments.”

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