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2020

  • December 2020: Euthanasia rendered legal in Spain

On 17th December 2020, the Spanish Parliament passed a law authorising euthanasia with 198 votes in favour, 138 against and 2 abstentions. The 138 votes against the law belong to two right-wing parties (Partido Popular and Unión del Pueblo Navarro) and one extreme-right party (VOX).

Despite this political opposition, data show a wide support to the law amongst the population. According to a survey conducted by Metroscopia in 2019, 87% of the Spanish population is in favour of the regulation of euthanasia. Interestingly, 59% of those who self-identify as practicing Catholics, 86% as little practicing Catholics and 91% of non-practicing Catholics are also in favour of it. 73% of members from other religions support it as well as 97% of those who self-identify as non-believer/atheist/agnostic.

The public and political debate around the legalization of euthanasia has lasted many years in Spain and has always counted on the vocal position of the Catholic Church against the regulation of this right. Several groups, including a number of pro-life Catholic movements, submitted a petition to the Parliament to stop the law regulating euthanasia and to replace it by one on palliative care.

  • July 2020: Religion, COVID and state secularism

The COVID-19 pandemic has left more than 63,000 dead behind according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. Like for other human tragedies, such as terrorist attacks, the Spanish state commemorated the lives of those gone in a public ceremony. The event, which took place on July 16, 2020, was the first of its kind. For the first time, the state organized a non-religious and a-confessional celebration, where representatives of various religious groups were invited alongside European and state authorities, political leaders, health professionals and families, to participate but not lead the celebration. The gesture was perceived as a change in the historical approach to such kind of events, where religion, and in particular the Catholic Church, has always had a prominent position. Laicist groups, such as Europa Laica, celebrated the change in the orientation of the event.

D 10 February 2021    AJulia Martínez-Ariño

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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