For the second time this year, Portugal’s president has refused to sign a bill allowing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Doing this, he effectively shelved the piece of legislation until a new parliament and government are chosen early next year.
The first time was in Februari. Then the president sent the parliament-sanctioned bill to the Constitutional Court. He argued the legislation was “excessively imprecise” and potentially creating a situation of “legal uncertainty”. On 15 March, the Constitutional agreed with the president and overturned the law because it was “imprecise”.
A new version was created, using the words “incurable” or “serious” instead of a “fatal disease” as a pre-requisite for “assisted dying”. However, this change had made it only worse as now it is no longer requiring patients to be terminally ill. According to the president This change means “a considerable change of weighing the values of life and free self-determination in the context of Portuguese society.”
By returning the bill to lawmakers, De Sousa is effectively delaying any progress until a new parliament is chosen in a snap election scheduled for Jan. 30. The assembly is set to be dissolved on Dec. 5 after division among an array of left-wing parties led late it in October to reject the minority Socialist government’s proposed budget for next year.