Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Only Latin American Country Where Euthanasia is Legal

From the AP

This is an unpleasant surprise. It's Colombia.

In Colombia, euthanasia became permissible in 1997 when the highest judicial body, the Constitutional Court, ruled 6-3 that an individual may choose to end his life and that doctors can't be prosecuted for their role in helping. The decision came in response to a case in which an opponent of euthanasia had sought to strengthen its prohibition.

The court urged Congress to codify the practice to prevent abuses. Lawmakers, apparently reluctant to take on such an emotionally charged debate in this predominantly Roman Catholic country, still haven't done so.

This has created an ethical vacuum that gives doctors the God-like power of life and death over their patients with no accountability at all.

"Currently, it's solely up to the patient and his doctor to decide on whether to induce death," said Dr. Juan Mendoza, head of the Right to Die with Dignity, an activist group. "There is no legal obligation even to report it to authorities."

As we've already seen in Holland and Oregon, the truth is soon euthanized after the patient.

Quintana would not identify the patient. On the death certificate, he wrote "cardiac arrest," omitting any reference to the injections that put the man to sleep, paralyzed him and then stopped his heart.

The article cited a poll saying Colombians were almost evenly split on the issue with a slight majority opposed. This is deceptive as any modern polling methods will over-represent wealthier, more educated urban populations and not account for the opinions of those in rural areas.

What a terrible tragedy for a country that has suffered enough in the last two centuries. I hope my mother-in-law will think twice before returning to Colombia for any length of time.
papijoe 6:01 AM