Uruguayan lawmakers have begun this week the debate to legalize euthanasia, despite opposition from the National Party of President Luis Lacalle Pou and the Catholic Church. The Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide bill was first introduced in 2020, but no further action was taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original bill was drafted in March 2020 by Colorado Deputy Ope Pasquet. The Colorado Party is within Lacalle's ruling Multicolor front. In 2021 the opposition Frente Amplio (FA - Broad Front) presented a new bill with some changes to Pasquet's proposal. Colorados and Broad Front leaders want the bill passed before the end of the year.
FA Deputy Lucía Etcheverry has also explained that in order to get the bill approved, her group and that of the Colorados will agree on a unified text.
Within the Uruguayan political spectrum, some legislators have come out against euthanasia and most of them belong to President Lacalle Pou's party, the National Party.
Deputy Rodrigo Goñi of Lacalle's National Party has held a meeting with authorities of the country's Medical Association to push for a postponement in the treatment of the bill in Parliament.
The Frente Amplio bill proposes modifications to the current Code of Medical Ethics, such as the repeal of an article that condemns the practice of active euthanasia as the action or omission that accelerates or causes the death of a patient as contrary to medical ethics.
Goñi considered the proposal an institutional outrage and a lack of respect for the autonomy of the Medical Association. However, the organization stated the following: Any proposal to try to improve the process and the final result to deal with what is in Parliament regarding euthanasia is welcome.
According to Medical Association sources quoted by El País, the Medical Association will have no official position neither for nor against euthanasia.
In South America, euthanasia is already legal in Colombia.