Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Will Portugal legalize euthanasia in 2021?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week I reported that Spain's lower house passed a euthanasia bill by a vote of 198 to 138 (2 abstained). The bill will now be debated by the Spanish Senate.

In February, the Portugal Parliament voted on five proposals to legalize euthanasia. All of the proposals passed, even though two years ago, similar proposals were defeated.

The Portuguese government was planning to propose a single euthanasia bill until parliament dissolved due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After parliament returned the government announced that they would resume the euthanasia debate.

President Marcelo de Sousa
The Portugal news is reporting that the euthanasia law will likely be voted on in January 2021. The caveat is that President de Sousa has indicated that he may veto the euthanasia bill. What further complicates the issue is that Portugal's Presidential election is January 24, 2021.

Last July I reported that the Portuguese Medical Association is against euthanasia and informed the government that doctors will not be permitted to participate on the euthanasia commission (the commission to approve euthanasia). At the same time, a group of 15 law professors, including Professor Jorge Miranda, known as the father of Portugal's Constitution, stated that the euthanasia bills are unconstitutional.

The Portuguese socialist government has been pushing to legalize euthanasia. Portugal needs to commit to improving care not approving killing.

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