Spanish lawmakers on Thursday passed a law to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with severe and incurable illnesses who want to end their suffering.
Spain has become the fourth European country to allow terminally ill people to end their lives.
The law will take force in three months to give time set up control committees to authorize requests
The ruling passed the lower house of parliament with 202 votes in favor and 141 against and 2 abstentions.
“Today we are a more humane, just and freer country. The euthanasia law, widely demanded by society, finally becomes a reality,” Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter.
Supporting and opposing groups reportedly protested outside the parliament during the debate.
If the law passes the remaining parliamentary hurdle, it could come into force as early as next spring.
Patients have to be Spanish citizens or legal residents and must be fully conscious when they request the mercy-killing.
A request is to be submitted twice in writing, 15 days apart. It must be approved by two separate medics and an evaluation body.
Doctors will have the right to reject requests if they believe requirements were not met.
Mercy-killing was carried a jail term of up to 10 years under Spanish law.