Mexico City Lawmakers Approve Passive Euthanasia Bill for Terminally Ill

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 4, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mexico City Lawmakers Approve Passive Euthanasia Bill for Terminally Ill

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 4,

Mexico City, Mexico ( — They started with abortion and now lawmakers in the Mexico City legislative assembly have approved a measure that could pave the way to allowing assisted suicide or euthanasia. They signed off on a bill that allows terminally ill patients to refuse medical treatment.

The Mexico City Congress voted unanimously for the bill, which would allow terminally ill patients to refuse any medical care that would prolong or extend their lives.

Family members could make the decision in cases of patients who are unable to make their own choice — hearkening to the international debate about Terri Schiavo.

The legislation says physicians who want to withhold food and water from patients — which is not considered extraordinary medical care by pro-life advocates — would be given legal protection.

Pro-life advocates are concerned by the news because this kind of measure can easily lead to euthanasia and patients having their decisions about lifesaving medical treatment made for them.

The measure would legalize so-called passive euthanasia but pro-life advocates worry doctors would eventually actively kill patients.

Raimundo Rojas, the Hispanic Outreach director for National Right to Life, previously told he’s not surprised the euthanasia bill has been filed on the heels of the abortion measure.

"They are trying to pass a law that would align Mexico with the bloody brotherhood of nations who bring fear into the elderly and infirm by defining the dispensing of food and water to a patient as extraordinary medical care," he said.

"Euthanasia cannot be controlled, and the citizens of Mexico City need to let their representatives know that enough is enough," he added.

Victor Hugo Cirigo, a leftist lawmaker behind the bill, told Reuters that the measure promotes "favoring death without unnecessary suffering when death is inevitable."

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who signed the bill legalizing abortions up to 13 weeks into pregnancy, must sign this measure for it to go into effect.

Any law the Mexico City legislative assembly would approve applies only to the Federal District and would not legalize euthanasia nationwide.

Cheryl Eckstein, the founder of the Compassionate Healthcare Network, which promotes a pro-life health care ethic in Canada, also previously commented on the bill.

"I said not too long ago that we would no doubt be seeing a euthanasia bill in Mexico," she said about the measure.

"They are muddying the waters calling it ‘passive,’ but once classified as euthanasia passed there’s no turning back," she explained. "The request for euthanasia for whatever reason is going to be available, as it is in the Netherlands."

The Catholic Church, which led the fight against the abortion ban and is supporting a legal challenge to it, condemned the euthanasia measure.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, the archbishop of Mexico, condemned the bill in an interview with the Catholic news agency Zenit.

"Euthanasia is one thing," the cardinal said, "dying well is another."