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News > Portugal

Portugal: Parliament Approves the 'Death With Dignity' Right

  • Fundamentalist religious groups protest outside Parliament, Lisbon, Portugal, Feb. 20. 2020.

    Fundamentalist religious groups protest outside Parliament, Lisbon, Portugal, Feb. 20. 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 20 February 2020

President Revelo de Sousa has also to approve the law allowing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill people.

Despite protests from fundamentalist religious groups, Portugal's Parliament Thursday took the first step in favor of the decriminalization of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.


Chile Proposes 'Passive Euthanasia' With Fresh Bill

In 2018, the "anticipation of death" bill was rejected by just five votes. On this occasion, however, the Portuguese parliament analyzed five different bills on the same subject.

Among the main proposals were those presented by the Left Bloc, the Socialist Party, the Ecological Party, the People-Animals-Nature (PAN) party and the Liberal Initiative, each of which had its own bill.

The decision was taken in the middle of an intense and politicized debate, which has been taking place both inside and outside the parliamentary precinct.

According to a recent survey, 70 percent of Portuguese doctors are in favor of euthanasia being decriminalized, an opinion which many citizens also share.

Euthanasia does not force you to die. Abortion does not force you to abort. Divorce does not force you to divorce. Equal marriage does not force you to marry an LGBT person. I have the right to choose what concerns me! The meme reads, "Euthanasia. Nobody has to be in favor of, or against, a decision that only the interested one has to make. The State has to legislate and regulate the procedures."

“I am Catholic but I do not share the Church's opinion. We have come [to this world] to live, not to suffer. If people are suffering psychologically so much that they don't want to live anymore, I am nobody to tell them to keep on living," Lola, a Portuguese woman, said.

“I will continue fighting to say that we have the right to a decent life, with more health resources. We have the right to decide whether we want to live or not," she added.

To effectively enter into force, however, the law of euthanasia must also be sanctioned by Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a conservative politician who could veto the new norm.

In Europe, the Netherlands was the first country to decriminalize "medically assisted death" in 2002. It was followed by Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

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