The Constitutional Court of Ecuador accepted the request of Paola Roldán, who seeks to access euthanasia and choose the day of her death. She suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Paola Roldán’s legal battle came to an end on the afternoon of February 7, 2024, when the Constitutional Court of Ecuador recognized the right to euthanasia.
He did so through a ruling on February 5, which had seven votes in favor out of nine.
In the document, the Constitutional Court maintains that it “declares the conditional constitutionality of article 144 of the Comprehensive Criminal Organic Code (COIP).”
Exactly, it establishes that said article will be constitutional as long as the following is fulfilled:
- The doctor who carries out the conduct typified in article 144 of the COIP will not be sanctioned.
- The person expresses their unequivocal, free and informed consent (or through their representative, when they cannot express it), requests access to an active euthanasia procedure.
- The request for an active euthanasia procedure responds to a condition of intense suffering resulting from a serious and irreversible bodily injury or a serious and incurable disease.
The ruling also provides that “the Ombudsman, within a maximum period of six months from the notification of this ruling, prepares a bill that regulates euthanasia procedures, in accordance with the provisions of this ruling.”
In addition, the Ministry of Health has a maximum period of two months, counted from the notification of the sentence, to “issue a regulation that regulates the procedure for the application of voluntary and voluntary active euthanasia in light of technical criteria and in observance of what is stated in this ruling”.
The regulation “will be valid until the approval of the respective law.”
The regulation must be presented to the Constitutional Court, which will verify its compliance.
Finally, the ruling grants the Assembly a maximum period of 12 months from the presentation of the bill to “know, discuss, and issue the regulations that regulate euthanasia procedures with the highest general standards established in this ruling.”
Paola Roldán’s request
Roldán had requested the declaration of unconstitutionality of article 144 of the Comprehensive Penal Code (COIP), which states that “the person who kills another will be punished with a custodial sentence of 10 to 13 years.”
Therefore, under this rule, euthanasia was considered homicide.
With the decision of the highest body of constitutional interpretation, Roldán will be able to make a decision about the day of his death, after four years of suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease with no cure that destroys the nerve cells that control the muscles that They execute voluntary movements.
This rare disease keeps her bedridden with 95% disability, so she is kept alive thanks to an artificial respirator.