Catholic Doctors Oppose European Council's Report on Euthanasia

Vote Will Take Place on Jan. 29

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BARCELONA, Spain, JAN. 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations expressed its opposition to a report favoring euthanasia, which will be voted on Jan. 29 by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly.



The FIAMC, which represents some 30,000 doctors, warned about the possible legal consequences of the report's approval.

"For us and for the Holy See, the report of Swiss Dick Marty is devastating, in addition to being incongruent with previous votes of the Council of Europe," Josep Simon, president of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Catalonia and FIAMC representative, told ZENIT.

The report, Document 9898 on euthanasia, states that doctors who practice euthanasia should be protected by law.

Simon countered: "We think that to pressure doctors against the Geneva Convention on Human Rights is a crime against humanity."

"We believe that the medical profession is not there to kill patients," Simon said. "Professionals and many international institutions have always acknowledged that palliative care is the best way to counteract euthanasia."

According to Simon, if the draft is approved, deputies of European countries where euthanasia is illegal will tend to support similar laws to those of the Netherlands and Belgium and, in part, those of Switzerland, "which is also entering in this wretched dynamic."

The FIAMC representative interpreted the report as a measure to exert pressure, and lamented the Council of Europe's change of direction if it approves it. "For a long time, the Council of Europe has been opposed to euthanasia," he noted.

The Parliamentary Assembly, in its Recommendation 1418, approved on June 25, 1999, requested that terminal patients be guaranteed palliative care, and stated that euthanasia is against Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Similarly, the World Health Organization published a statement in 1990 affirming that the development of palliative care makes unnecessary any laws in favor of euthanasia, Simon stressed.