EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Paola Roldán is unable to move her limbs due to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis);...
Paola Roldán is unable to move her limbs due to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis); she rests on an orthopedic bed. October 7, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS.
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - A nurse attends to Paola Roldán during the public hearing where arguments will be...
A nurse attends to Paola Roldán during the public hearing where arguments will be presented regarding her request for the decriminalization of euthanasia in Ecuador before the Constitutional Court. November 20, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Paola's notes on the wall for her intervention in the public hearing where arguments will...
Paola's notes on the wall for her intervention in the public hearing where arguments will be presented regarding her request for the decriminalization of euthanasia in Ecuador before the Constitutional Court. November 20, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Objects from the 'Go Away Box,' the farewell box that Paola Roldán...
Objects from the 'Go Away Box,' the farewell box that Paola Roldán prepared for her son. With the concept of a time capsule, Paola prepared notes and gifts for her son to receive during significant moments in his life until he turns 40. October 7, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Paola Roldán, seen from the backyard of her house, using an artificial respirator....
Paola Roldán, seen from the backyard of her house, using an artificial respirator. Paola is unable to move her limbs due to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and remains on an orthopedic bed. October 7, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Magoly Espinosa, mother of Paola Roldán, accompanies her daughter during the public...
Magoly Espinosa, mother of Paola Roldán, accompanies her daughter during the public hearing on the euthanasia request in Ecuador. November 20, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Paola Roldán receives massages on her hands to alleviate the pain caused by difficulty...
Paola Roldán receives massages on her hands to alleviate the pain caused by difficulty in blood circulation. November 20, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS.
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Nicolás Suárez kisses his wife, Paola Roldán, on the forehead....
Nicolás Suárez kisses his wife, Paola Roldán, on the forehead. October 7, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS.
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Paola Roldán and Nicolás Suárez watch the video of their...
Paola Roldán and Nicolás Suárez watch the video of their wedding. October 7, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight - Paola Roldán, seen from outside her house, the reflection displaying the cityscape....
Paola Roldán, seen from outside her house, the reflection displaying the cityscape. Paola is unable to move her limbs due to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis); she rests on an orthopedic bed. October 7, 2023. Photo: Karen Toro/EL PAÍS.

EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight

Profile photo of Karen Toro
Karen Toro
Freelance photographer based in Quito, Ecuador

In the intimate narrative of Paola Roldán's journey, captured through a series of photographs, she courageously unveils her personal battle for the right to decide when to embrace a dignified death. Afflicted by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a condition rendering her immobile and entirely dependent on the care of others, Paola publicly shares her story to lend a voice to a struggle many in the country cannot engage in.


On February 7, 2024, a significant milestone was reached in Ecuador as the Constitutional Court despenalized euthanasia, following a demand presented by Paola Roldán. In a country like Ecuador, where euthanasia had remained illegal until recently, Paola, alongside her legal team, took the fight to the Constitutional Court, seeking to decriminalize this compassionate choice for a dignified end. Confined to a bed, her body sustained by a respirator, Paola endeavored to challenge the conservative and deeply religious norms of this country, paving the way for the legalization of euthanasia.


Aware of the imminent nature of her fate, Paola confronted the possibility of a painful demise due to her condition. Yet, she strove to retain agency over the little she had left—her voice. Organizing every aspect of her home with meticulous care, Paola prepared a trove of gifts for her 3-year-old son, to be unwrapped on significant milestones until he turned 40.

While only nine countries worldwide had embraced the legality of euthanasia, Ecuador, a conservative stronghold, stood outside that brief list. Paola's struggle echoed the protracted battles for rights such as same-sex marriage and abortion in cases of rape, victories achieved only through constitutional rulings and laws in the past years. In her poignant journey, Paola not only contended with her own mortality but also championed a cause that transcended her personal story, pushing the boundaries of societal norms for a more compassionate and humane future.

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Here you can read the different publications about this story:

- Paola Roldán pide abrir el debate de la eutanasia en Ecuador: 'Si no he hecho nada a escondidas en mi vida, ¿por qué tendría que morir así?'

- La batalla de Paola Roldán para obtener la eutanasia en Ecuador

- La lucha de Paola Roldán por tener una muerte digna en Ecuador: 'Reconozcan este derecho que me corresponde'

- La Corte Constitucional de Ecuador legaliza la eutanasia

- 'Ha sido una petición desde el amor': la mujer con ELA que ha logrado la legalización de la eutanasia en Ecuador

Public Story
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight
Copyright Karen Toro 2024
Date of Work Oct 2023 - Feb 2024
Updated Feb 2024
Location Quito, Ecuador
Topics Media
LOVE
EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight by Karen Toro EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight by Karen Toro EL PAÍS: Ecuador legalizes euthanasia thanks to Paola Roldan's fight by Karen Toro
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