The House of Representatives ground to the project that sought to regulate euthanasia for adults in Colombia and settled the debate by denying the final report of the presentation.
The initiative of the liberal representative Juan Fernando Reyes Kuri achieved its first triumph in Congress on the night of April 7. The promoters of euthanasia obtained a majority to deny two archival proposals and the project went to a second debate.
But the triumph did not last 24 hours. This Thursday, the House of Representatives voted the report with which the presentation of the euthanasia project ends, in which 82 representatives voted in favor. The initiative required a minimum of 85 representatives in favor to remain alive in the legislative process, because it is a statutory law. Five congressmen voted against it and 70 left the plenary to reject the discussion.
César Lorduy, the representative of Cambio Radical, regretted that the project was archived, but celebrated that the debate has managed to add positions in favor, because in 2019 when it was presented for the first time, it obtained 77 votes in favor and 66 against.
“Unfortunately, Congress has just sunk by three votes our bill that sought to regulate our right to die with dignity in Colombia through euthanasia. A difficult day for the liberties of Colombians. We are going to insist because pain and suffering have no ideology, ”said the author of the initiative, Representative Reyes Kuri.
The liberal congressman indicated that they will insist on the project during future legislatures. “This project aimed to guarantee that all Colombians who could choose autonomously about their own lives, that they could decide with autonomy the destiny of their own existence, this project aimed to guarantee Colombians that they were truly free. We are going to insist because we do not believe that Congress can continue to refuse to guarantee this fundamental right to all Colombians, ”Reyes Kuri pointed out.
Representative Juan Carlos Losada, during his speech in plenary, defended the initiative of his benchmate and pointed out that «we are all going to die» as an incontrovertible premise, but the idea of legislating on euthanasia is «how» can he die each person.
«Let’s respect each other, comrades, that this is not an easy debate, much less for those of us who have this contradiction of never assuming what this project allows, but not for that reason stop allowing it to those who think differently,» said Losada.
One of the arguments for the opposition is that although the Constitutional Court urged Congress to regulate euthanasia, opponents of the initiative argue that the separation of powers prevents orders from being given between the institutions, so the legislators did not have to fulfill that mandate.
«I ask Congress to recognize that there is this absolutely valid religious doctrine and that it has space in this country as the one that wants to allow Colombians to take the plan of their lives,» said representative Gabriel Santos in the plenary session, against the position of his bench from the Democratic Center, which opposed the project.
Santos himself regretted the file, but welcomed the progress in the debate and assured that he will continue to support the initiative. “3 votes were missing to approve the PLE of Reyes Kuri to regulate euthanasia in Colombia. Closer and closer to allowing Colombians to be autonomous in the most intimate decision possible: deciding when to stop living in the disease, ”he pointed out.
For his part, in the debate, representative Erwin Arias pointed out that the Court did not ask to regulate euthanasia, but rather the right to die with dignity. The congressman from Cambio Radical pointed out that he left a record in the previous debate for conscientious objection, because in his concept, the project established euthanasia as the only alternative to exercise the right and not others such as palliative care that was already implemented by the Congress.
“People do not want to die, the sick do not want to die, they are simply afraid of the Colombian health system. It is time that we should be debating the reform of the health system, ”said Arias.
Finally, representative Lorduy pointed out that he does not understand why the debate continues to give arguments outside the legal sphere, with ideological positions. He reiterated that the Constitutional Court has established 32 sentences on this issue and has urged Congress to regulate euthanasia, without ideologies, and that it is an old discussion that dates back to the 1991 National Constituent Assembly, where it was also raised.
The Colombian House of Representatives has rejected a project to regulate euthanasia in the country this Thursday due to lack of a quorum, which despite not being penalized, does not have legislation to regulate it. This is bill number 13 of this nature that has been presented to Congress since 1997, when the Constitutional Court decriminalized euthanasia and asked the Chamber to legislate accordingly. On this occasion, Congress has overthrown the initiative