The Constitutional Court (KS) has to resolve the complaint against the constitutionality of Article 144 of the General Criminal Code (COIP), which states: “A person who kills another shall be punished with imprisonment of ten to thirteen years.”

The lawsuit states that the criminal law is unconstitutional if it is not interpreted so as to exclude from the criminal offense of murder “those who participate in exercising the right to a dignified death or euthanasia”, at the request of persons who freely and voluntarily decided to end their life (assisted suicide ) to end suffering, due to a serious or incurable physical illness or injury.

The path to solving the CC does not seem complex. Of course, within a direct, sufficient and rigorous analysis leading to the denial of the claim of unconstitutionality to allow assisted suicide or “assisted death.” All the more so when it is recognized in the request that the crime – the punishment of murder – is intended to protect the right to life.

The fact is that the request for interpretation, in addition to forcing the Court to assume the exclusive power of the legislature (Art. 120: 6 of the Constitution), confronts it with other constitutional norms: the state’s obligation to guarantee the right to health, accompanying the protection of the right to life. The principles of precaution and bioethics must rule in healthcare services (Art. 32), whereby the state is obliged to provide palliative care until the last moment of existence to victims of terminal diseases; which does not allow the health system to execute the patient’s death decision (as opposed to the voluntary suspension of curative treatment). The request to the Court is in conflict with the right of the terminally ill patient to receive specialized and free care, in a timely and privileged manner (Art. 50); and with their right to a dignified life (Art. 66), which ensures their physical and mental health.

Furthermore, the Constitution (Art. 84) obliges the National Assembly to harmonize laws and other legal norms with constitutional rights, to guarantee the dignity of human life. The Charter (Art. 358) requires the national health system to protect and restore people’s abilities and potential so that they can enjoy a healthy and complete life, according to the principles of bioethics and sufficiency. So is his art. 363 indicates the responsibility of the state to guarantee treatment, rehabilitation and comprehensive health care.

The CC will also have to address the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights approved by the UNESCO General Conference (2005), whose principles are based on respect for human life and dignity. A guide for countries to develop laws and policies in the field of bioethics to direct all preventive and therapeutic medical interventions in their health systems. Gonzalo Herranz (Spanish doctor), an expert in medical ethics, medical deontology, research ethics and bioethics, has already said: “Respecting terminal life belongs to the ethical minimum that defines the core of the medical profession.” (OR)