Anti-euthanasia activism in Spain setting the tone for future Catholic political battles?

The next front for conservative religious activism is likely to be the fight over euthanasia, and the model for such activism may be seen in Spain’s growing network of religious and political organizations fighting against the right to assisted dying, two researchers argue. In the journal Religion, State, and Society (online in May), sociologists Joseba Garcia Martin and Ignacia Perugorria look at how the Covid-19 pandemic served as an opening for a host of Catholic-inspired organizations to mobilize, targeting Spain’s establishment of assisted dying policies in 2021. Activists and Catholic bishops charged that thousands of elderly Covid patients who died in Spanish nursing homes were euthanized. The researchers found that a network consisting of the Catholic bishops’ conference, the rightist party Vox, and activist organizations expanded the “anti-rights” field in Spain, surpassing more moderate organizations that were inspired more by such movements as Opus Dei and the bishops’ conference of previous years.

Source: The Central Minnesota Catholic (

The new activism is inspired by American pro-life groups. The pandemic intensified the rhetoric against right-to-die initiatives, with activist groups such as Vividores using the Internet to wage their battle. Although the euthanasia law ended up being approved and groups such as Vividores were deactivated, Martin and Perugorria argue that their mobilization has set a pattern for future activism. It also sheds light on the “incipient anti-euthanasia mobilizations sprouting in other European countries (e.g., Ireland, Italy, and Portugal) and may also foreshadow the strategies of anti-rights organizations in countries such as Argentina and Uruguay, where debates around the regulation of euthanasia are beginning to emerge,” they conclude.

(Religion, State, and Society,