The Latvian public broadcaster LSM.LV reported that, after a long debate, the Latvian Saeima rejected a citizens initiative to legalize euthanasia by a vote of 49 to 38 with 2 abstentions. A citizens initiative collected 10,000 signatures which required the Saeima to debate the issue.
LSM reported that Saeima representatives saw the euthanasia debate as opening the door for better end-of-life care for Latvians. According to the report:
opposition MP Viktors Valainis (Union of Greens and Farmers) said euthanasia would be the easiest way for severely ill people to escape intolerable pain, yet it is “absolutely unacceptable” because it ignores a number of problems in palliative care. At the same time, the Member stated that he was prepared to do everything necessary to improve the medical sector in the country.
The Baltic News Network (BNN) provided an analysis of the debate. BNN reported:
Saeima deputy Anda Čakša said that the topic of For a Good Death is a call for help from residents. She believes there are two important aspects – the accessibility of analgesia and palliative care and what are the people’s rights to refuse aggressive health treatment.
According to Čakša, the topic of euthanasia should not be on the table while the issue of palliative care remains unresolved. The Saeima member said her faction [New Unity] will hold a free vote on this.