Parliament approves new decree on euthanasia

  • Lusa
  • 5 November 2021

Of the total 230 MPs, 227 were present, of whom 138 voted in favour, 84 against and five abstained.

The new decree on euthanasia was approved on Friday in Parliament with the votes in favour of most of the PS, BE, PAN, PEV, IL and the two non-attached Members, as well as 13 PSD Members.

Of the total 230 MPs, 227 were present, of whom 138 voted in favour, 84 against and five abstained.

Today’s vote on the decree regulating the conditions under which medically assisted death is not punishable and amending the Penal Code was the culmination of a process of parliamentary review of the diploma, following the veto for the unconstitutionality of the President of the Republic, who returned the diploma in March to parliament.

The changes to the decree decriminalizing euthanasia include, among others, a new initial article of definitions to clarify concepts, eight in total, from medically assisted death to “definitive injury”, serious or incurable illness.

The Constitutional Court (TC) rejected this law on 15 March, by a majority of seven judges against five, in response to a request for preventive supervision made by the President of the Republic.

In the ruling, the TC pointed to the “imprecision” of the concept of “definitive injury of extreme gravity according to scientific consensus”, saying it “does not allow us to delimit, with the necessary rigour, the life situations in which it can be applied”.

Despite not being part of the head of state’s request, the TC decided to take a position on the fundamental issue and considered that the inviolability of human life consecrated in the Constitution does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle to decriminalize, under certain conditions, medically assisted death.

In July, at the end of the previous legislative session, PS, BE, PAN, PEV and Liberal Initiative, parties with projects on euthanasia, agreed in an informal meeting the final text to overcome the rejection by the TC.

In Thursday’s debate, the parties that presented proposed amendments ensured that the new text answers the questions raised by the TC, while PSD and CDS-PP accused these benches of trying to pass a law “at the 25th hour”, in the face of the announced dissolution of parliament.

The Constitution states that if the Constitutional Court declares a law unconstitutional, it must be vetoed by the President of the Republic and returned to parliament, which can reformulate it by removing the content judged unconstitutional, which happened today, or confirm it by a two-thirds majority.