Deputies discuss need for better palliative care.
Latvia’s parliament voted against a public initiative to legalize euthanasia in the Baltic nation, and several parliamentarians spoke of the need to improve care for persons who are terminally ill.
Forty-nine deputies to the Saeima, or Parliament, voted to reject the “For Good Death” initiative, 38 voted in favor, and two abstained.
Since the proposal was introduced in early February, a Saeima committee heard from representatives of the healthcare sector and four Christian Churches — all of whom advised against legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Deputy Vitālijs Orlovs, a doctor by profession, commented, “I understand what the initiative is about, but I was taught to fight for patients’ lives to the end. I cannot imagine injecting a person with some substance to help them die — not for any amount of money.”
The vote apparently did not kill the idea altogether. Deputy Artuss Kaimiņš said he believes that a number of improvements have yet to be made to palliative care and diagnostic medicine, so that MPs can decide further on legalizing euthanasia.
Deputy Andris Skride, a cardiologist, said that passive euthanasia — where doctors cease intervening medically at a patient’s request — is not regulated in Latvia. Skride said he has prepared draft legislation to do so.