In Spain, those who have only months to live can now refuse medical treatment.

The Spanish government has approved a law that gives terminally ill patients the right to hasten their deaths by halting medical treatment.

Health Minister Leire Pajin said that the law would not affect bans on euthanasia or assisted suicide, which outlaw actions that lead to the deaths of those who otherwise would have lived.

Halting medical treatment in terminal cases is common practice in Spanish hospitals but was never explicitly permitted.

The bill must be approved by Parliament in the coming months.

Health officials said the law would apply only to those with months at most to live, and also grants the right to adequate palliative care.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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