The Colombian Constitutional Court legalized the physician assisted suicide (SMA), a decision that, according to its defenders, makes it the first Latin American country to support this procedure for people suffering from serious or incurable diseases.
Unlike the euthanasiathe physician assisted suicide It is done by the patient with the assistance of a doctor, according to the Laboratory of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (DescLAB), a group that promotes access to a dignified death.
The authorization requires the same requirements as for the euthanasiathat is to say, that the patient is diagnosed with a bodily injury or a serious and incurable illness, suffers from intense physical or psychological pain incompatible with his idea of a dignified life, expressly states his intention and that the assistance is provided by a doctor.
“This is a new mechanism that, together with euthanasia, will allow us to access a medically assisted, free, safe and accompanied death,” said lawyer Lucas Correa, director of investigations at DescLAB, in a video.
“It is a decisive step for our country to consolidate itself as one of the most advanced in the world when we talk about the right to die with dignity,” he explained.
Colombiaa predominantly Catholic and traditionally conservative country, decriminalized euthanasia in May 1997 and in January this year he used it for the first time with a patient with a non-terminal illness.
The decision was made on Wednesday night by the Constitutional Court with six votes in favor and three against, after a lawsuit by DescLAB that argued that penalizing the procedure violated the right to die with dignity, to a dignified life and to access to education. medical help for people who decide to use it.
Colombian law provided between 16 and 36 months in prison for anyone who induced or supported a person to commit suicide with the intention of putting an end to intense suffering resulting from serious or incurable bodily injury.
Colombia joins Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, Germany and some states in the United States where physician-assisted suicide is legal, according to DescLAB, which had 127 investigations documented between 2010 and August 1, 2021 for the crime of inducing or aiding suicide in the South American country.