Martha Sepúlveda Campo, a 51-year-old Colombian, smiles on the tv digicam whereas joking together with her son and having a beer to rejoice: This Sunday, Oct. 10, she is going to die by euthanasia.
“From the non secular stage, I’m completely calm,” stated Sepúlveda, who defines herself as “a Catholic particular person, very believing,” in an interview with the Colombian tv community Noticias Caracol.
Sepúlveda would be the first affected person with a nonterminal sickness to obtain euthanasia in Colombia, a rustic thought-about a pioneer in the best to a dignified dying, each in Latin America and globally.
“God doesn’t wish to see me undergo, and I imagine that nobody, no mother or father desires to see their youngsters undergo,” stated Sepúlveda, who has had a degenerative illness since 2019.
Over time, the signs have gotten worse, to the purpose the place she will now not stroll with out help. Her prognosis is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a illness of the nervous system that impacts the physique’s mobility.
“Within the state that I’ve it, the very best factor that may occur to me is to relaxation,” she stated.
Colombia was the primary nation in Latin America to decriminalize euthanasia, in 1997, and it is likely one of the few on the planet the place the process is authorized. However till this yr, it was solely allowed in instances of terminal sickness.
On July 22, the Colombian Constitutional Courtroom expanded the best, permitting the process “supplied that the affected person suffers intense bodily or psychological affected by bodily damage or severe and incurable illness,” in response to the EFE company.
4 days later, Sepúlveda requested for a allow, which was granted on Aug. 6.
“I’m calmer because the process was approved. I snort extra, I sleep extra calmly,” stated the lady, who has the help of a giant a part of her household.
Her 11 siblings agree with the process, and her son has been by her aspect in her remaining days. “I would like my mom, I would like her with me, virtually in any situation, however I do know that in her phrases she now not lives, she survives,” Federico Redondo Sepúlveda advised Noticias Caracol.
Nonetheless, not everybody within the household agrees, primarily for spiritual causes. “With my mom the difficulty has been harder,” Sepúlveda stated, “however I believe that deep down she additionally understands it.”
Her determination faces sturdy critics, in a rustic with a big majority of Roman Catholic believers and the place the church nonetheless calls euthanasia a “severe offense.”
This was exactly what the Episcopal Convention of Colombia indicated in a press release issued after the courtroom’s determination in July. Monsignor Francisco Antonio Ceballos Escobar stated that it was a “murder gravely opposite to the dignity of the human particular person and the divine respect of its creator,” and referred to as for taking good care of the sick as a substitute of facilitating the process, native information shops reported.
Sepúlveda is conscious of this and has mentioned it together with her pastors. “I do know that the proprietor of life is God, sure. Nothing strikes with out his will, she stated.
However she additionally stated she thinks God “is permitting this.”
Camila Jaramillo Salazar, a lawyer for the household, stated Sepúlveda’s determination has garnered quite a lot of help from Colombians, regardless of criticism from the Catholic church.
The truth is, greater than 72 p.c of these surveyed by Invamer’s newest Colombia Opina ballot stated they agree with euthanasia, with a better proportion within the nation’s largest cities.
“Maybe Colombia could be a main nation by way of advances in dignified dying,” the lawyer advised Noticias Caracol.
Euthanasia was decriminalized in 1997 within the case of terminal sickness, when the affected person suffered quite a lot of ache, requested it voluntarily and was carried out by a health care provider. However the authorities didn’t give a regulation that may enable it till April 20, 2015.
Since then, simply 157 procedures have been carried out within the nation, in response to knowledge from the Ministry of Well being. For each 5 requests for euthanasia, two are approved, says DescLAB, Laboratory for Financial, Social and Cultural Rights.
The primary euthanasia affected person within the nation was Ovidio González Correa, a 79-year-old man with a face deformed by a tumor who turned a logo of the struggle for the best.
Now, it’s Sepúlveda’s flip to make historical past as the primary particular person with no terminal sickness to entry a dignified dying.
“Since we all the time go to church on Sunday, to Mass, I selected that day,” she stated.
When requested about those that suppose she ought to have fought to stay as a substitute of asking for an assisted dying, Sepúlveda stated she’s additionally gone via a battle.
“I will be a coward, however I don’t wish to undergo anymore,” she stated. “To battle? I struggle to relaxation.”