Portugal enacts the law decriminalizing euthanasia

The law decriminalizing euthanasia has been promulgated this Tuesday by the president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousaafter almost six years of process, two political vetoes and two vetoes by the Constitutional Court.

“The President of the Republic promulgated Decree No. 43/XV, of the Assembly of the Republic, as required under the terms of Article 136, No. 2 of the Constitution,” reported the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic in a brief statement. The rule will enter into force the day after its publication in the Republic Journal.

The Portuguese president has enacted the rule after the Parliament decided not to abide by his veto and approved the law that decriminalizes medically assisted death by an overwhelming majority on the 12th. The rule was approved by 129 votes in favor, 81 against and 1 abstention.

The Socialist Party, which governs with an absolute majority, was supported by the Left Bloc, the animalists, Livre and Liberal Initiativethe only center-right party to join the initiative.

In opposition, 81 votes from the Communist Party – the only left group that rejects the norm -, the conservative Social Democratic Party and the far-right Chega, who have announced their intention to appeal to the Constitutional.

The text defines the medically assisted death as the one that “occurs by their own decision”, applicable in adults who demonstrate “great intensity suffering, with a definitive injury of extreme gravity or serious and incurable illness” and when it is “practiced or helped by a health professional” .

In addition, it gives priority to assisted suicide and it may be applied in cases of patients who are physically incapable of doing it on their own. It also limits the procedure to Portuguese citizens or those residing in the country.

According to a recent survey commissioned by local media, the 61% of the Portuguese are in favor to decriminalize euthanasia.

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