Portugal approves euthanasia law despite Presidential veto


Southern Europe


Citizens attend the euthanasia debate and vote in the Portuguese Parliament in Lisbon. Photo EPA, Mario Cruz

The Portuguese population may now legally choose euthanasia to end their lives. The Portuguese Parliament approved a law that allows euthanasia in the country, even though the President vetoed the proposal earlier.

On Friday, the Portuguese Parliament voted in favour of the euthanasia law. It was the fourth time an amended proposal was looked at, CM Journal reports. In total, 129 MPs showed their support, 81 opposed and one abstained.

Earlier, President Marcelo Robelo de Sousa had vetoed the euthanasia law, and the Constitutional Court had found irregularities in the proposal. However, Portuguese law allows the Parliament to pass it anyways if an absolute majority (116 out of 230 MPs) is in favour of the law.

The euthanasia law allows adults to choose euthanasia when they are terminally ill and suffer unbearably. In addition, they must be mentally capable of making the decision themselves and unable to choose the option of assisted suicide due to physical incapacity Euronews writes. Furthermore, people must wait two months from the start of the procedure until they can receive their euthanasia. During this time, psychological support is mandatory, CM Journal writes.

Even though President de Sousa vetoed the law, he promised that he would enact it because the Constitution obliges him to do so. “I swore to the Constitution. And it obliges the President to promulgate a law he vetoed. That was confirmed by the Assembly of the Republic. It is my duty”, he said, as reported by Euronews. De Sousa expected to enact the law within eight days after it was passed.

The Social Democratic Party in Portugal strongly opposes the approval of the euthanasia law. They announced that they would request a “successive inspection of constitutionality”, which would be filed to the Constitutional Court.

Also, the Association of Portuguese Catholic Doctors said it regret the decision on euthanasia. The Association called it a black day in history, “an occasion for affronting the dignity of the Portuguese.”

According to its members, euthanasia and suicide go against the medical oath they took. “They are acts forbidden to doctors; they are not medical acts.”

Pope Francis also opposes the new euthanasia law, Catholic News Agency writes. “I am very sad because, in the country where Our Lady (Virgin Mary, ed.) appeared, a law has been passed on killing”, he said on Saturday. “It is another step in the long list of countries with euthanasia.”



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