At Friday January 29, the Portugese parliament approved the decriminalization of medically assisted death. The so called medically assisted death bill is the merged result of 5 other bills that already passed parliament last year.
The new bill passed with the votes of much of the bench of ps, BE, PAN, PEV, Liberal Initiative and 14 members of the PSD and votes against of the CDS, Chega and PCP. A week earlier, the bill was already approved in the specialty: in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. View the video of the voting on this webpage: SIC Notícias | Despenalização da eutanásia aprovada no Parlamento (sicnoticias.pt)
Content of the bill
The draft law provides that a person can request medically assisted death or euthanasia. The person’s will should be current and reiterated, serious, free and enlightened. And the person should be in a situation of intolerable suffering, with definitive injury of extreme severity according to scientific consensus or incurable and fatal disease. In these cases, euthanasia “is not legally punishable when practiced or helped by health professionals”.
The bill now goes – after waiting three days for complaints – to the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Sousa is a moderate conservative reelected with a landslide last Sunday, and he opposes the measure. However, he says his personal opinion won’t influence his decision. He could demand further parliamentary or judicial review if he believes the law infringes Portugal’s constitution, which states “human life is inviolable”.
If he promulgates it, Portugal will be the 4th European country with a euthanasia law.