Wheelchair-bound right-to-die activist first in Peru to legally end life via euthanasia

Ana Estrada, 47, on Sunday became Peru's first citizen to legally end her life after the nation's Supreme Court in 2022 granted her request for euthanasia. Estrada was diagnosed with degenerative polymyostosis at age 12 and was confined to a wheelchair the rest of her life. Photo by Paolo Aguilar/EPA-EFA

April 23 (UPI) -- Psychologist Ana Estrada, 47, on Sunday became the first Peruvian citizen to die by euthanasia after winning approval for the life-ending procedure from Peru's Supreme Court.

Assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal in Peru, but Estrada fought a years-long legal battle to win approval to end her life, the National Catholic Register reported Tuesday.

"The medical procedure was carried out in accordance with the Dignified Death Protocol approved by EsSalud," Peruvian news site Ojo Público announced Sunday in a translated post on X.

Estrada suffered from polymyositis since she was 12, teleSUR reported.

Polymyositis is a degenerative disease that weakens the body and has no known cure. The disease rendered her wheelchair-bound until her death Sunday.

Despite her condition, Estrada completed university studies to become a psychologist. She also became an activist promoting assisted suicide and euthanasia in Peru.

Although those procedures are illegal in Peru, Estrada in 2021 won court approval to undergo euthanasia after Peru's EsSalud social security system denied her request for euthanasia.

Peru's Supreme Court in 2022 gave final approval for Estrada's request for euthanasia to end her 35 years of suffering. She had petitioned the nation's courts to win approval for the procedure since 2019.

After the court rulings, EsSalud officials said Estrada wouldn't need a second psychological evaluation and allowed her to designate a person she trusted to sign a document giving consent to the euthanasia.

The manner of Estrada's death wasn't reported.

Canada, Switzerland and several other nations are among those allowing assisted suicide in limited circumstances. So are several states in the United States.

Government officials in France in May are scheduled to debate a proposed law that would legalize end-of-life care for terminally ill adults who are mentally competent.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.