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Woman Behind Ecuador Euthanasia Decriminalization Dies

Roldan brought forth her lawsuit in August, contesting an article of the Ecuadorian penal code which considered euthanasia a homicide carrying a sentence of between 10 and 13 years in prison.


Paola Roldan, the 43-year-old who became a symbol of the fight to allow the procedure, died around noon, the family said, but did not say whether it was a medically assisted or natural death.

 

 

 

The woman whose lawsuit helped result in Ecuador’s recent decriminalisation of euthanasia died Monday after battling the incurable neurological disease ALS for three years, her family reported.

Paola Roldan, the 43-year-old who became a symbol of the fight to allow the procedure, died around noon, the family said, but did not say whether it was a medically assisted or natural death.

Roldan brought forth her lawsuit in August, contesting an article of the Ecuadorian penal code which considered euthanasia a homicide carrying a sentence of between 10 and 13 years in prison.

In February Ecuador’s constitutional court decriminalized euthanasia becoming the second Latin American country to allow the procedure after Colombia.

“Paola departed this world in peace, surrounded by her family, with an ‘I love you’ dedicated to those of us who accompanied her,” her father Francisco Roldan said in a statement.

The motor neuron disease ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurological condition that results in a slow and painful death. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Paola’s fight for the right to a dignified and compassionate death has left a lasting impact on our society,” her family said.

“Her courage and determination have paved the way for a significant change in Ecuadorian law, allowing those facing terminal medical conditions the option to say goodbye with dignity and without unnecessary suffering.”

Roldan’s last message on social media appeared Sunday, concerning several tributes she had received for International Women’s Day. She also highlighted the work of her team and support of her mother.

“My greatest desire is to leave my son a more supportive, compassionate, loving and collaborative world,” she said.