Argentina Approves ‘Dignified Death’ Law
Argentina’s senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a “dignified death” law that aims to give terminally ill patients and their families more power to decide how they spend their final days.
The law passed by a vote 55 to zero, with 17 senators absent.
Now Argentine families won’t have to struggle to find judges to order doctors to end life-support for people who are dying or in a permanent vegetative state. Getting such approval can be very difficult in many countries, particularly in Latin America, where opposition from the Roman Catholic church still runs strong.
The law passed in the lower house last year.
The law applies to the terminally ill as well as patients suffering from irreversible and incurable illness or injury, and says they have the right to refuse surgical procedures, hydration and nutrition, reanimation and life-support systems. Rather than seek a court order, all they need do is prepare an advanced health-care directive and sign it before a notary, with two witnesses.