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Portugal moves closer to legal euthanasia

After its parliament approved five bills this week, Portugal will probably become the next country to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide. The next step is for a committee to consolidate the five proposals into one bill.

However, right to die is not yet done and dusted. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a conservative, could veto the bill. Opposition groups are also pressing for a referendum.

All five proposals agreed on the usual conditions for euthanasia — a patient must be over 18, not suffering from a mental illness, and the request can be granted only if the patient is terminally ill and suffering unbearable pain, Reuters news agency reported.

“It is a historic day. It is a big day for democracy,” said the Left Bloc’s leader, Catarina Martins, soon after the proposals were approved.

The right-to-die lobby’s win came two years after parliament rejected a bill to legalize voluntary euthanasia for terminal patients by a slim margin.

Like neighbouring Spain, traditionally Catholic Portugal has put its conservative past behind. It legalized abortions in 2007 and permitted same-sex marriage in 2010.

After its parliament approved five bills this week, Portugal will probably become the next country to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide. The next step is for a committee to consolidate the five proposals into one bill.

However, right to die is not yet done and dusted. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a conservative, could veto the bill. Opposition groups are also pressing for a referendum.

All five proposals agreed on the usual conditions for euthanasia — a patient must be over 18, not suffering from a mental illness, and the request can be granted only if the patient is terminally ill and suffering unbearable pain, Reuters news agency reported.

“It is a historic day. It is a big day for democracy,” said the Left Bloc’s leader, Catarina Martins, soon after the proposals were approved.

The right-to-die lobby’s win came two years after parliament rejected a bill to legalize voluntary euthanasia for terminal patients by a slim margin.

Like neighbouring Spain, traditionally Catholic Portugal has put its conservative past behind. It legalized abortions in 2007 and permitted same-sex marriage in 2010.

 


 

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge and his article is printed here with permission

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