"We hope that this time it will be the final one, which will lead us to the approval of an Euthanasia Law that responds to the needs and demands of society," he said.
The minister has inaugurated in Congress the act 'Euthanasia, a law that cannot be postponed. Alzheimer's and dementias, an unsustainable reality ', organized by Right to Die Dignitably, The Pasqual Maragall Foundation, the Association of Relatives of Alzheimer's Patients of Barcelona, the Spanish Confederation of Alzheimer's, the Provea Foundation and the Bioethics and Law Observatory of the University of Barcelona.
"We cannot remain impassive in the face of unbearable suffering suffered by some people," said Illa, who recalled that the regulation of euthanasia has "broad social support." As noted, other countries have already faced the debate of euthanasia and "it is time for Spain, as the consolidated democracy that it is and as a sufficiently mature society, to address this issue and guarantee the right to die with dignity."
The minister has insisted that the regulation of euthanasia does not force anyone. But neither does it contemplate "that no one imposes on others their morals or ideology before each person's freedom to choose before the hard trance of an irreversible disease, the suffering and degradation they cause."
Regarding Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, Illa has recognized "the great physical, intellectual and social disability" that they generate. They also bear an important individual and social suffering of the affected person and their families, he has acknowledged. In this regard, he highlighted the effort of the Ministry of Health with actions such as the National Alzheimer's Plan, which was approved in October 2018, "an example of the necessary coordination between the social and health fields".
The disease, he explained, sometimes evolves very quickly and leads to incapacitations. "But a disabled person is a person with dignity and rights and it is the obligation of the public authorities to guarantee them," he recalled. In this regard, the minister has defended that it is essential that the euthanasia law offers a response to the needs of people with Alzheimer's disease, through an adequate regulation of instruments such as the previous instructions document.
Illa has also defended an improvement, in parallel, in the application of palliative care, whose regulation "does not replace or make unnecessary" that of euthanasia.
The minister has recognized the figure of Diana Garrigosa, the recently deceased wife of Pasqual Maragall, as well as all the people who daily care for and accompany people with Alzheimer's, to whom he has sent a message of "support and admiration."
Finally, Illa has been convinced that the parliamentary debate on the Proposal of the Law on euthanasia – and those that can be processed on palliative care -, with the contributions of civil society, will allow to achieve a regulation capable of maintaining the balance between the rights and guarantees of people. "We are at the beginning of the road and there is an important work ahead of us that we hope will allow us to expand the agreements and consensus on two matters that are inaccessible."