Historic Moment in Peru as Woman Becomes First to Die by Euthanasia

Ana Estrada, a 47-year-old Peruvian woman battling a debilitating and incurable disease, has made history by becoming the first person in Peru to die by euthanasia, following a landmark legal battle that granted her the right to end her life on her own terms.

After enduring a prolonged struggle with polymyositis, a chronic and degenerative illness that left her bedridden and reliant on round-the-clock care, Estrada peacefully passed away in accordance with her wishes, her family confirmed in a statement shared on Monday.

Euthanasia remains illegal in Peru, yet in a groundbreaking ruling in February 2021, a Peruvian court ordered health authorities to honor Estrada’s decision to undergo euthanasia, affirming her autonomy and dignity. This marked a historic moment for the country’s justice system, as it acknowledged and authorized an individual’s right to choose the manner of their death.

Despite initial legal hurdles, health authorities refrained from appealing the court’s decision, which was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court in July 2022. Walter Gutierrez, Estrada’s lawyer, hailed the ruling as a milestone, emphasizing her profound sense of contentment with the outcome.

Estrada, a trained psychologist, had fervently advocated for her right to die with dignity, expressing a desire to exercise control over her fate amid the constraints imposed by her debilitating condition. Despite her love for life, the relentless progression of polymyositis had rendered her unable to speak, confined to a ventilator, and reliant on constant nursing care.

In interviews with CNN en Español, Estrada articulated her steadfast resolve to assert her autonomy and freedom to choose the timing and manner of her death. For four years, she waged a legal battle, initially alone and later with the support of the Ombudsman’s Office, to secure the right to euthanasia.

Her family, reflecting on her profound impact, described her as a beacon of courage and a catalyst for change, asserting that her legacy will endure in the collective consciousness of the nation.

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