Intended for healthcare professionals


Ecuador becomes second Latin American country to decriminalise euthanasia

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: (Published 09 February 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q357
  1. Luke Taylor
  1. Bogota

Ecuador’s constitutional court has become the second Latin American country to decriminalise euthanasia, after delivering judgment in a legal case presented by a patient with a progressive neurological disease.

Seven of the court’s nine judges voted in favour of decriminalising euthanasia on Wednesday 7 February. Doctors in Ecuador are no longer at risk of being prosecuted for homicide with a possible 13 year prison sentence when ending a seriously and chronically ill patient’s life at the patient’s request.

The case was presented to the courts in August by Paola Roldán, who is bedbound and breathes through an oxygen tube because of her advanced case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). “Today Ecuador is a country that is a little more welcoming, freer, and more dignified,” said Roldán after the landmark verdict.

Roldán argued …

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