AMERICA/COLOMBIA - "Protection, defense and care of life, not its destruction": decriminalization of assisted suicide approved

Monday, 16 May 2022 human rights   human life   laws   episcopal conferences  


Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - The Constitutional Court of Colombia has decided to decriminalize medically assisted suicide. This allows those who request it to have access to a dignified death. Medically assisted suicide is authorized when the patient is suffering from a physical injury or a serious and incurable disease, but also when the patient suffers from intense physical or mental pain incompatible with the concept of a dignified life. Until now, in Colombia, doctors who practiced assisted suicide were liable to 16 to 36 months in prison. "The Episcopal Conference, in harmony with the perennial teaching of the Church and its fundamental option to serve the human being integrally, and making the feelings of the believing people its own, welcomes with deep sadness the decision of the Constitutional Court in favor of medically assisted suicide". In the statement entitled "We are responsible for life!", the Colombian bishops reiterate their closeness to all, urging them to "translate the love of Christ into concrete gestures of prayer, affection, service and accompaniment in the face of pain", as the Good Samaritan did. Therefore, as a Catholic Church, they call on the country's authorities to "respect the inviolable value of human life, enshrined in the Colombian Constitution (Article 11)" and to ensure that the decisions taken have objective "its protection, defense and maintenance and not its destruction". People who suffer, their families and all human beings are invited to reject "the temptation, sometimes induced by legislative changes, to use medicine to produce death". Finally, they reaffirm that "no health care worker can be compelled to collaborate in the death of another", therefore the fundamental right to personal conscientious objection must be guaranteed, "just like the principles of the mission and of the vision of the institutions are safeguarded according to their nature, which identifies them in favor of life". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2022)