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(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The majority of people in Mexico favour the basic principle of euthanasia, according to a poll by Parametría. 59 per cent of respondents think doctors should have the legal right to end the life of a person suffering from an incurable illness upon a request by the patient and his or her relatives, while 35 per cent disagree.

On Apr. 22, the Mexican Senate voted 70-0 in favour of legalizing passive euthanasia. This concept allows doctors to withdraw life-sustaining medication from patients, but not to, for instance, administer poisons. Assisted suicide or active euthanasia occurs when an individual who is not physically capable of ending his or her own life requests the help of a physician to do so.

The Mexican bill calls for legalizing passive euthanasia when the patient is in palliative care and has been given less than six months to live. Doctors have to act with consent from the patient or the patient’s family. The regulation stipulates that the patient will have the option of “voluntarily requesting the suspension of healing treatment and selecting integral care to control pain.” The bill has not been ratified by the Chamber of Deputies, Mexico’s lower house.

Assisted suicide based on medical grounds is legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the state of Oregon in the United States.

Polling Data
When a person suffers from an incurable illness, do you think his or her doctors should have the legal right to end with his or her life if the patient and his family request it?

Yes 59% No 35% Not sure 6%

Source: Parametría Methodology: Interviews with 1,200 Mexican adults, conducted from Feb. 9 to Feb. 16, 2008. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.
Footnote: Coincidentally, “Jean’s Way” by Derek Humphry appeared in a Mexican language translation last month — “Jean Murio A Su Manera”from DEMAC of Mexico City. It first appeared in English 30 years ago.

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