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Spanish lawmakers pass law allowing assisted suicide

Spanish lawmakers pass law allowing assisted suicide
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Spanish lawmakers this week advanced a bill to allow assisted suicide in the country, completing a crucial step in making Spain one of a handful of countries in the world to allow terminally ill patients to choose to end their lives.

The draft law the lawmakers voted on was first presented in February and looks to remove an aspect of the Spanish criminal code that prohibits anyone from aiding in the death of a terminally ill person.

The law passed the lower chamber of Spain’s parliament by a 198-138 vote and now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass, according to The New York Times

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The law will allow a patient to choose between being euthanized by a health care professional or assisted suicide, which they could do themselves at their home by taking a prescribed medication that would end their life.

Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland already have laws legalizing assisted suicide, while several states in the U.S. include provisions for terminally ill patients.

Assisted suicide remains hotly contested around the world, including in Spain, where protesters gathered in Madrid this week to oppose the law by beating funeral drums.