Friday, February 19, 2021

Portugal's President did not sign euthanasia bill and sent it to the country's Constitutional court for evaluation.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Portuguese parliament passed a euthanasia bill on January 29, a bill that allows euthanasia for people who are not terminally ill but rather suffering from permanent injuries or a grave and incurable illness.

Article about the bill (Link).

Similar to Canada's euthanasia law, the bill allows euthanasia based on subjective not objective considerations. Even if the "suffering" can be alleviated, euthanasia would be permitted based on whether or not the person considers the treatment acceptable.

The term suffering also includes psychiatric suffering, which means, euthanasia for psychiatric conditions would be permitted when the person asking to be killed considers the treatment options unacceptable.

The term permanent injuries specifically permits euthanasia for people with disabilities.

President Marcelo de Sousa
Portugal's President Marcelo de Sousa decided not to sign the bill into law but to refer it to the country's Constitutional court for evaluation.

The Associated Press reported President de Sousa as stating:

the legislation appears "excessively imprecise," potentially creating a situation of "legal uncertainty."

the bill also raises a series of questions about the constitutionality of "such a complex and controversial issue."
The Associated Press report acknowledged that Portugal’s Constitution says that human life is "sacrosanct".

In July I reported that the Portuguese Medical Association, that opposes euthanasia, informed the government that they will not permit doctors 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.

President Marcelo de Sousa was re-elected on January 24.

Portugal needs to care for and not kill its citizens.

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