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MADRID, June 23, 2011 ( – The Spanish Episcopal Conference, an organization that includes all of the Catholic bishops of Spain, is preparing to issue a declaration warning that a new “Death with Dignity” law, which is about to reach final approval, may permit doctors to engage in euthanasia.

Although supporters of the bill claim that it only allows patients to have adequate pain relief and to refuse extraordinary medical treatment in the last days of life, the bishops are concerned that aspects of the law may be exploited by those who wish to unnaturally accelerate the deaths of patients.

In a statement that is to be published on June 27, but which was leaked to the Spanish press, the bishops reportedly warn that the bill’s language uses a “reductive definition of the concept of euthanasia” which “leaves the door open to certain voluntary omissions that can cause death or that directly seek its acceleration.”

The declaration also reportedly laments the fact that the right to religious liberty is inadequately addressed in the bill, and that health professionals are given too much decision-making authority over patients. It also denounces the lack of conscience rights in the measure.

The bishops suggest “living wills” in accordance with the Catholic faith, as an alternative to the bill’s provisions.

The bill has recently been approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers, and now passes to the Congress of Deputies, which is the nation’s lower legislative house.  The Spanish Parliament is dominated by socialist political parties loyal to Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who has consistently supported policies that undermine the right to life, as well as the family and sexual morality.