Spain has become the fifth country in the world to approve a law to legalize euthanasia.
On Thursday Mar. 18, the Spanish parliament voted in favor of legalizing euthanasia by 202 to 141 votes with two abstentions.
Under the new law, people can request their life be ended if they suffer from a serious or incurable disease or a serious, chronic and incapacitating condition which causes them intolerable suffering.
The law legalizes both euthanasia, administered by medical professionals, and assisted suicide, which is self-administered.
Previously, helping someone to end their life could result in up to 10 years in prison.
The law, in contrast to other countries that have also approved of legal euthanasia, sets out a series of steps to be taken over a month, starting from the moment the patient requests it.
The rule say that the patient must be fully aware and conscious when creating the written request, it must be submitted twice during the space of two weeks and must express a clear will to end their life after being supplied information about their medical condition and other alternatives they could take.
Once they have received authorization, the patient is allowed to delay it as long as they want, in case there is a change of mind during that period of time.
The bill was heavily opposed by the conservative Popular Party (PP), the Navarrese People’s Union (UPN) and far-right party Vox, who said they would overturn the legislation in the future, AP reported.
Spain joins countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada in legalizing euthanasia.
A similar law will also take into effect this November in New Zealand.