Photo: MARTHA SEPÚLVEDA / copyright
The euthanasia of Colombian Martha Sepúlveda, which was scheduled for this Sunday at 7 in the morning, has been canceled, according to a statement from the Colombian Institute of Pain (Incodol), the clinical center where it was to be performed.
The woman was to be the first person to receive the procedure in Colombia without having a terminal illness.
According to the statement, the Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee for the Right to Die with Dignity “unanimously concluded to cancel the procedure” by determining that “the terminality criterion is not met as had been considered in the first committee” that evaluated his case. .
Lucas Correa, Sepúlveda’s lawyer, described the decision to cancel the euthanasia as “illegitimate, illegal and arbitrary” and accused those responsible for violating the patient’s right to die with dignity. “They are forcing her to live a life that she is not willing to continue living, with suffering and pain that she considers incompatible with her idea of dignity,” she said.
In Colombia, euthanasia was decriminalized in 1997, but only became law in 2015. Since then, 157 procedures have been carried out.
Last July, the Constitutional Court of the country extended the right to a dignified death to those who suffer “intense physical or mental suffering” due to an incurable injury or illness. And that of Martha Sepúlveda had become the first case in which euthanasia is authorized in a patient who does not have a terminal illness.
Since she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a serious and incurable disease, her family said that the life of Sepúlveda, 51, had been transformed into torment. The news that he could put an end to it had been a relief, his son Federico told BBC Mundo.
Recently, the Colombian Episcopal Conference had asked him to reconsider his decision.
“Hopefully (the reflection will be given), if the circumstances allow it, away from the harassment of the media that have not hesitated to take his pain and that of his family, to make a kind of propaganda of euthanasia,” he said. Monsignor Francisco Antonio Ceballos Escobar, president of the Episcopal Commission for the Promotion and Defense of Life.
In his last interview on Caracol TV, Sepúlveda had said: “I am a Catholic person, I consider myself to be a very, very believer. But God does not want to see me suffer ”.
“With lateral sclerosis in the state that I have it, the best thing that can happen to me is that I go to rest.”
After hearing the news of the cancellation, the Liberal Party congressman Juan Fernando Reyes declared: “The right to die with dignity is a right of everyone, the State does not have to interfere in that decision or anyone else. If we want our beliefs and intimate decisions to be respected, let’s start by respecting those of others ”.
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