While we still enjoy the freedom of creating a life we imagine, let’s talk about the freedom of making a big life decision: the end of it. As the European Union evolved to become the protector of freedom, human life, and liberties, EUMANS believe that such rights should exist especially within death. However, member states of the European Union have not found a unified voice on the matter: while some member states allow their citizens to choose the way they leave/live (Belgium, The Netherlands and Spain), others have ruled against this right - that we believe is inherent to the right to life. The recent decision by the Italian Constitutional Court has overruled a recent referendum on euthanasia that complied with italian law and therefore should have been approved. This is alarming as it shows the disregard of the institution for its citizens’ voices. The problem? Some european citizens can legally avoid pain and others have to suffer the lack of regulation facing barriers on their path to a dignified death. Two years into a global pandemic, the need for harmonization is now greater than ever. For these reasons, euthanasia and assisted death are not only matters of life and death, they are also indicators of the health of our democracies.
European citizens turn their opinions into votes, and their visions of life and death are now immortalized on the portal of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Since an opinion cannot exist without its contrary, the voices of the citizens create a bicolor mosaic. Some argue that individuals should have the right to deliberately end their life for compassionate reasons, and others believe that such practices remove the ‘natural’ aspect of death. The beauty of the European political landscapes is that such opposing views, fed by cultural, social and religious principles can cohabit. But to those who believe that the right to life, as presented in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, is incompatible with euthanasia we respond that the freedom to choose should be protected: ending your life with dignity and without suffering is at the very core of the right to life.
When citizens who own every minute of our day cannot decide on the final dance, what is the point of having a say in choosing the music? In other words, what is the meaning of democracy if fundamental rights are not upheld? If you too wish to see euthanasia legalized at the EU level and believe that unnecessary suffering should be avoided: take action now and join us. Life is short and so is the step you can take have an impact. Support EUMANS’ European Living Will initiative, and come discuss your point of view during our pan-european citizens congress. Because the freedom we have during our lives must also apply to an event that is a major part of it: death.
by Tyala Ifwanga & Inés Jiménez
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