On May 9, the Argentinean Senate approved a proposed “death with dignity” act, drawing intense criticism from pro-life groups in the country.
Several local leaders and organizations condemned the new norm which modifies existing laws on the rights of patients in relation to health care professionals and institutions.
While supporters argued during debate that the law did not concern euthanasia, it nevertheless allows for the possibility of removing food and hydration from terminally ill patients, as occurred in the cases of Terri Shiavo in the United States and Eluana Englaro in Italy.
The norm states that “food and hydration procedures can also be rejected when their sole effect is the prolonging of an irreversible or incurable terminal state.”
The Missiones Federal Network of Families argued that the new law will facilitate the death of terminally ill.
“Are not certain stages of cancer, leukemia, HIV, deafness, blindness, Parkinson’s and cerebral paralysis irreversible and incurable?” the organization asked.
By approving this law, it said, the Senate has “decided to legalize the homicidal gesture of asking for one’s own death or of allowing those who should be given better care to die.”
Representatives of the pro-life group Marcha de los Escarpines criticized Argentinean lawmakers for “not listening to experts and refusing to open the democratic dialogue demanded by such a delicate issue that can dangerously be turned into ‘euthanasia,’ death that is intentionally provoked.”
Father Ruben Revello of the Institute for Bioethics at the Catholic University of Argentina said the new law includes a significant negative effect because it allows for the removal of food and hydration, which are measures that bring about death.
“The death process should be allowed to continue and not brought about,” he said.