May 13, 2023

PORTUGAL: Portuguese Parliament Approves Euthanasia For People 18 And Over Experiencing Intolerable Suffering. The Bill Was Passed With The Support Of The Ruling Socialists.

euronews published May 13, 2023: Portuguese parliamentarians vote in favour of euthanasia despite president's veto. Portugal's parliament has passed a bill legalising euthanasia after an intense debate including a veto by the country's president.

Aletia News
written by John Burger
Friday May 12, 2023

Legislators override president's veto in move that would make country the fourth in Europe to legalize killing by doctors.

Portugal’s parliament has voted to make the country the fourth nation in Europe to allow euthanasia.

The parliament voted to override the veto of Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and allow doctors to euthanize persons in extreme suffering as a result of an incurable disease or severe injuries who cannot end their own lives. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the legislation, especially among Socialist Party members.

The bill has been debated for three years.

Andrรฉ Ventura, leader of the far-right Chega Party, had demanded a referendum on the subject of euthanasia, according to the BBC. He told parliament during the debate that he did not believe that the new euthanasia law would ever come into force. Even if it does, he said, “there will not be a single doctor in Portugal” prepared to euthanize a patient.

Under Portuguese law, the president must now sign this bill within eight days of receiving it, once it is published in the official gazette.

“But the reform can be derailed in the meantime, or at least delayed, if one in 10 members of parliament formally ask the Constitutional Court to review the legislation,” the BBC explained. “Several PSD members of parliament have already declared their intention to do so.”

Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands already allow euthasia, while several European countries permit some form of physician-assisted suicide.

On a previous attempt to legalize the practice, the Permanent Council of the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference (CEP) said it would mean “giving up on alleviating suffering and giving the wrong idea that a life marred by pain and suffering does not deserve more protection and becomes a burden on oneself, on other people, on health services and on society as a whole.”

The bishops renewed their call to protect life instead, “especially when it is more fragile,” by facilitating access to palliative care, “which the majority of Portuguese citizens do not yet have.”

Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany
written by Staff
Saturday May 13, 2023

The Portuguese parliament on Friday passed a bill that aims to legalize euthanasia for people suffering with terminal illnesses.

The bill which was first introduced three years ago, was approved on Friday after four previous failed attempts.

What the bill allows

Under the new law, people over 18 years of age will be allowed assistance in dying in cases where they are suffering from an incurable disease.

The new law only allows euthanasia for people who are mentally fit to make the decision and are suffering "lasting" and "unbearable" pain.

Only citizens and legal residents fall under the purview of the law which does not extend to foreigners coming to Portugal seeking assisted death.

In the last three years, the bill was passed by parliament four times but faced stiff opposition from conservative President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

On the fifth attempt, the bill was cleared with a majority of 129 votes to 81. "We are confirming a law that has already been approved several times by a huge majority," said pro-euthanasia Socialist MP Isabel Moreira.

Debate on assisted death far from over With the passing of the new law, Portugal joins a small number of countries that allow euthanasia. Most EU countries carry severe jail sentences for active euthanasia.

Euthanasia has been a subject of debate in Portugal which has a high proportion of Catholics.

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, condemned the law, saying "I am very sad today... It is another step on the long list of countries with euthanasia."

The bill was passed with the support of the ruling Socialists when the opposition demanded a referendum among citizens. Critics of euthanasia still hope the opposition will ask the constitutional court to look into the bill.
I added the map to this news.

France24 News
written by AFP staff
Friday May 12, 2023

After a long battle, Portugal on Friday passed a law legalising euthanasia for people in great suffering and with incurable diseases, joining just a handful of countries around the world.

The issue has divided the deeply Catholic country and witnessed strong opposition from conservative President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a devout churchgoer.

Under its provisions, people aged over 18 will be allowed to request assistance in dying if they are terminally ill and in intolerable suffering.

It will only cover those suffering "lasting" and "unbearable" pain unless they are deemed not to be mentally fit to make such a decision.

The law will only be applicable for nationals and legal residents and not extend to foreigners coming into the country to seek assisted suicide.

The euthanasia bill was approved by parliament four times in the last three years but sent back every time for a constitutional review due to opposition from the president.

The definitive version of the law was adopted on Friday with support from the governing Socialists, who hold an absolute majority in the chamber.

"We are confirming a law that has already been approved several times by a huge majority," said Socialist MP Isabel Moreira, a fervent advocate of legalising euthanasia.

The president now has a week to promulgate the new law. It could come into force by the autumn, Portuguese media said.

"We have at last come to the end of a long battle," Moreira told AFP earlier this week.

Debate continues

Rebelo de Sousa had vetoed earlier bills due to "excessively undefined concepts" and later said the language used to describe terminal conditions continued to be contradictory and needed to be clarified.

The new version of the law now provides that euthanasia is only authorised in cases where "medically assisted suicide is impossible due to a physical disability of the patient".

Rebelo de Sousa has asked lawmakers to specify who would "attest" to whether a patient was physically incapable of assisted suicide but lawmakers this time refused to modify the text.

Questions raised by the president can be addressed through implementing decrees, said Catarina Martins, the leader of the far-left Left Bloc.

Rebelo de Sousa himself said approval of the law "wasn't a great drama" and did not give rise to "constitutional problems".

The debate over medically assisted dying is far from over in Portugal.

"The adoption of this law has been relatively fast compared with other big countries," said Paulo Santos, a member of the pro-euthanasia group Right To Die With Dignity.

He warned a large number of doctors could raise moral objections to carrying out euthanasia, as they had done over abortions in 2007.

"There's a good chance euthanasia will lead to even stronger resistance," he told AFP.

For their part, critics of medically assisted dying regret that the issue has not been put to a referendum and hope opposition deputies will once again ask the constitutional court to look into the bill.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are only allowed in a handful of countries, including the Benelux nations and Portugal's neighbour, Spain.

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