Mexican State of Michoacan Approves Living
Wills that Exclude Euthanasia
The Mexican state of Michoacan has approved a new "Anticipated Will"
law that allows families and patients to opt out of extraordinary
medical treatments in the case of terminal illness, while guaranteeing
basic medical and palliative care.
The law, which received multi-party support and was endorsed by
Archbishop of the state's capital, Morelia, reportedly excludes
assisted suicide and both active and passive euthanasia, including the
withholding of food and fluids.
The law gives terminal patients the right to substitute curative
treatments for palliative care and to determine the limit of treatments
they are to receive. If a terminally ill patient is unable to make such
decisions, family members are permitted to do so.
Doctors who administer deadly doses of medications or otherwise
undertake procedures to cause the death of the patient are punished
under the law, as well as those who refuse to give palliative care.
The legislation, initiated by the socialist Party of the Democratic
Revolution (PRD) received the general support of the liberal
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the right-wing National
Action Party (PAN). The vote reflected a growing trend for
the state level to work together on human life issues. Recent
favor of pro-life constitutional amendments have also received support
from across the political spectrum.
However, representatives of the smaller New Alliance (NA) and Green
Ecologist (PVEM) parties refused to vote for the measure, expressing
concern over provisions allowing relatives to withhold treatment.
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Date: September 1, 2009
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