MPs in the Congreso de Diputados in Madrid have agreed to debate a motion from the Catalan regional parliament over whether or not euthanasia should be legalised in Spain.
Euthanasia is currently banned and MPs approved the move to discuss reforming the criminal code by 173 votes in favour, 135 votes against, with 32 abstentions.
The conservative PP party and ally, UPN, voted against and centrist Ciudadanos abstained. Other parliamentary groups supported the controversial move.
The original proposal to reform national law was put forward from Catalonia in 2007 and it aims to change article 143 of the criminal code so that those who cooperate or indirectly help someone to die “in a safe, peaceful and painless way” will not be prosecuted. The proposed change in the law foresees that euthanasia would only be decriminalised in this way if the person dying had a terminal illness that was going to cause suffering and had given their clear, express permission.
This week euthanasia has been in the national news with the planned assisted death of Australian David Goodall in Switzerland.