Lima (Agenzia Fides) - The Peruvian Bishops' Conference gives its opinion on the first case of euthanasia in the history of Peru: the country's judiciary has ordered the Ministry of Health and Social Security (EsSalud) "to respect Ana Estrada Ugarte's decision to end her life through the technical euthanasia procedure". In an official statement, the bishops emphasize that "following the example of Jesus the Good Samaritan, the Church will always care for the sick, knowing that all human life is inalienable and has an infinite value because it is a gift from God".
According to the Bishops, "the terrible experience of the pandemic that we are experiencing and that has caused the death of thousands of Peruvians, has united us in the tireless effort to protect life until the last moment, without any distinction or exception, because we love our neighbor and recognize in every patient Christ who suffers in the flesh of his brothers and sisters".
With her blog "Ana Busca La Muerte Digna" Estrada had actively fought for her cause for two years. In Peru, ending the life of a person who specifically and knowingly asks to die is a crime that can be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years.
Peruvian legislation does not provide for the right to active euthanasia, which is why a court of first instance approved euthanasia for the psychologist Ana Estrada on the basis of an interpretation of fundamental rights. The 43-year-old woman has been suffering from a degenerative disease for 30 years and the judges have ruled that the criminal code should not apply to her case. "We have achieved the goal", commented Estrada herself on the judgment and justified her fight with the "right to free decision".
The decision divided public opinion following the interventions of some institutions, while the Ombudsman's Office constitutional affairs expert Percy Castillo stressed that the panel will support further legal action by the psychologist should Judge Ramirez's decision be challenged. "This is the first instance but it could be the last if the ministries of health and justice and EsSalud decide not to appeal", said Quesada, an attorney in the Ombudsman's office.
The Bishops affirm that "euthanasia will always be the wrong way because it is an attack on the inalienable right to life, directly causes the death of a person and is therefore an act to be rejected under all circumstances". Recalling the constitutional principles, the bishops' document says: "The primary purpose of society and the state is the protection of man and respect for his dignity, that is, the care, respect and promotion of life from conception to its natural end. It is contradictory, and should not be tolerated, that an organ of the Peruvian state tries to change a constitutional norm and promote measures against this sacred principle", underlines the document of the Bishops. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 1/3/2021)