01-01-2007 - Traces, n. 1

Spain a ripe fruit?

by Fernando de Haro

In September 2004, a few months after winning the elections, the Spanish premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and six of his ministers defended Alejandro Amenábar at the premier of his film The Sea Inside. The film, supported by the new government transformed Ramón Sampedro, a famous quadriplegic who had been helped to commit suicide into an icon of the cultural battle in favor of euthanasia, engaged by the left-wing media, led by the powerful daily newspaper El País. A number of right-wing media joined the battle, too. In Zapatero’s Spain, where people of the same sex can marry and adopt children, and where human cloning and “medicinal babies” will soon be permitted, a general initiative to change to law on euthanasia has not yet begun. However, the new statues of autonomy (which are authentic federal constitutions) include a series of new rights that open the door. In Catalonia’s new Statue of Autonomy, which was supported by the Zapatero Government, the right to “live the process of death with dignity”–a euphemism–was confirmed. Andalusia’s new Statue of Autonomy, supported by the center-right of the PP (Partido Popular), uses the same expression. In this autonomous region governed by the Socialists, the regional minister of health defended a woman who asked for euthanasia. Although the government assures that euthanasia continues to be a crime, it has contributed to foment an atmosphere that will accept its de-penalization… like a ripe fruit!