Martha Sepulveda Campo, a 51-year-old Colombian, smiling at the television camera while i was joking with her son and have a beer to celebrate: this Sunday, October 10, she will die by euthanasia.
“From the spiritual level, I am completely calm,” said Sepúlveda, who describes himself as “a Catholic person, very religious”, in an interview with Colombian television network Notices Caracol.
Sepulveda becomes the first patient with a non-terminal illness to undergo euthanasia in Colombia, a country considered a pioneer in the right to a dignified death, both in Latin America and worldwide.
“God not want to see me suffer, and I believe no one, New parent want to see them children suffering,” said Sepulveda, who has had a degenerative disease since 2019.
Over time, the symptoms have gotten worse, to the point where she can’t anymore walk without help. Her diagnosis is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, of ALS, a disease of the nervous one system that affects the body’s mobility.
“As I have it, the best what can happen to me is rest,” she said.
Colombia was the first country in Latin America to decriminalize euthanasia, in 1997, and it’s one of the few in the world where the procedure is legal. But until this year, it was only allowed in cases of terminal disease.
On July 22, the Colombian Constitutional Court extended the law and allowed the procedure “provided that the patient suffers from intense physical of mental suffering from physical injury of serious and incurable disease,” said the EFE agency.
Four days later Sepúlveda asked: for a permit, die has been granted on 6 Aug.
“I am calmer since the procedure was approved. I smile more, I am sleeping more calm down,” said the woman, who has the support of a large part of her family.
Her 11 siblings agree with the procedure, and her son has been through her side in her final to dawn. “L need mine mother, L want her with me, almost in any condition, but I know Which in her words she no longer lives, she survives,” Federico Redondo Sepúlveda told Noticias Caracol.
But not everyone in the family agrees, mostly for religious reasons. “With my mother the issue has been more difficult,’ said Sepúlveda, ‘but I think deep down they also understands.”
Her decision faces strong critics, in a country with a large majority of Roman Catholic believers and where the Church still calls euthanasia a “serious offense”.
This was exactly what the Episcopal Conference of Colombia indicated in a statement issued after the court’s ruling decision in July. Monsignor Francisco Antonio Ceballos Escobar said it was a “murder that is serious in struggle was met the dignity”. of the human person and divine respect of to be creator,” and shouted for to care of the sick instead of to facilitate the procedure, local news outlets reported.
Sepulveda is aware of this and discussed it with her pastors. “L know that the owner of life is God, yes. Nothing moves without his will, she said.
But they also said she thinks God “allows this.”
Camila Jaramillo Salazar, a lawyer for the family, said Sepulvedas decision has yielded a lot of support of Colombians, despite criticism from the Catholic Church.
In fact, more than 72 percent of die researched by Invamer’s latest Colombia poll said they agree with euthanasia, with An higher percentage in the country’s largest cities.
“Maybe Colombia can have a leading country in terms of advances in worthy death’, the lawyer told Noticias Caracol.
Euthanasia was decriminalized in 1997 in the case of terminal illness, when the patient a lot ago of pain, asked voluntarily and was carried out by a doctor. But the government didn’t give a regulation die would allow it until April 20, 2015.
From that moment on, just 157 procedures have been performed in the country, according to data from the ministry of Health. For every five requests for euthanasia, two are allowed, says DescLAB, Laboratory for Economic, social and cultural rights.
The first euthanasia patient in the country was Ovidio González Correa, a 79-year-old man with An face deformed by a tumor who became a symbol of the fight for the right.
Now it’s Sepúlveda’s turn to history as the first person without terminal illness access a worthy one death.
“Because we always go to church on Sunday, to mass, I have die day chosen,” she said.
When asked over die who think they should have fought over live instead of questioning for an assisted death, Sepúlveda said she is also gone through a battle.
“I’ll be a coward, but I won’t” want no more suffering,” she said. “Until struggle? l fight to rest.”
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