Spain: Manifesto in Defense of Natural Death

January 01, 1970
 

On October 27, during a press conference held in Madrid, university professors -- Pharmacy, Medicine, Law and Philosophy of the Law -- presented their press release in defense of the dignity of natural death. The press release echoed their scientific study entitled “Euthanasia: Ethical, Juridical and Medical Aspects.”

“Confronted with the intense pressures brought to bear upon Spanish public opinion to lead it to allow the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, it was necessary to defend the dignity of natural death as the end of any human life,” read the preamble. Next the press release recalled that “the life of a human being is inviolable by reason of its intrinsic dignity, which cannot be subjected to any limitation, because it is universal, independent of situation, age, health or autonomy.” This dignity, they affirmed, “implies the inalienable right of all to life, and the unavoidable duty of the State to protect it, to care for it, even when the person itself does not seem to believe in its worth.” Likewise, in the discharge of this duty, the most responsible States “recognize the right of any person to the most advanced care in the realm of health, and hence it proves contradictory to accept and to deliberately promote the end of the life of those who can reach situations of weakness, of dependency upon others, or of illnesses in terminal phase.”

“Euthanasia,” the press release continued, “understood as a deliberate act to put an end to the life of a person upon his (her) request or upon the decision of a third party, as well as assisted suicide, are ethically and morally worthy of condemnation.” The alternative to euthanasia must be the promotion of palliative care, which draws upon “specific knowledge and the progress in medical and psychological care, like affective and spiritual support adapted to the terminal phase,” affirmed the manifesto. “Science and medical practitioners have at their disposal better instruments to act and to discern; to request that they be used for the benefit of  human life is a right for all.” Lastly, added the signatories, we are launching a call to all citizens and especially to civil authorities for the recognition of the dignity of natural death. “A society which accepts to put an end to the lives of some people under the pretense that their health is precarious, through the intervention of a third part, inflicts upon itself the offense which means that the lives of some sick or seriously handicapped people are devoid of worth,” concluded the Spanish professors. (Sources: apic/fides/defensamuerternatural)