Saeima committee rejects initiative on euthanasia legalization

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On March 10, Saeima's responsible Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee rejected the public initiative “For Good Death”, which called for the legalization of euthanasia in the event of terminal diseases.

Two health experts and four representatives of Christian denominations expressed their views against euthanasia in the Saeima commission. Only the arguments differed: medics stressed the need to address the problems of palliative care, which is expensive and is currently largely on the shoulders of their relatives. But religious denominations objected to euthanasia comparing it with murder.

After hearing the views of all those invited, all against the legalization of euthanasia, a majority of deputies also voted “against” the collective application of over 10,000 Latvian citizens, “For good death – legalization of euthanasia”.

“By listening to what medical and religious representatives say, I will also vote against. Because the primary thing is to sort our health system by nature, “said Saeima deputy Edgars Kronbergs (faction of KPV LV).

Two deputies abstained from the vote – Andris Skride and Ilmars Dūrītis from Development/For! “I'm not surprised by the confessions. The Church has always been against the possibility for a person to choose – live or die. It's not a surprise,” Skride said.

“How many doctors will take on this death procedure? But above all, are the people, the public prepared to accept this cardinal change? Hearing everyone invited was, of course, a sense that the discussion needed to be continued. But not in the context of this collective initiative, but in the context of humanitarian values," said Janīna Kursīte-Pakule, head of the Saeima Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee.

Meanwhile, the author of the initiative, Pēteris Buks, said in a telephone call to Latvian Television that the commission didn't hear the views of those supporting such an initiative. He doesn't plan to re-collect signatures for now.

The Saeima will still have to vote on this Mandate Committee decision.

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