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Portugal’s President vetoes fourth euthanasia bill

by | Apr 24, 2023

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebello de Sousa has vetoed the euthanasia bill . According to Natasha Donn, reporting for the Portugal Resident on April 20

President Marcelo has returned the 4th draft of the bill decriminalising assisted dying to parliament, admitting that his reservations are his own and will not require another sending of the text to the Constitutional Court. …Marcelo’s doubts came in the form of who “defines the patient’s physical incapacity to self-administer lethal drugs, as well as who should ensure medical supervision during the act of medically assisted death.”

The Portugal Resident reported on March 31 that Portugal’s Parliament passed a fourth euthanasia bill. Two of the previous bills were declared unconstitutional by Portugal’s Constitutional Court and a third bill was vetoed by President de Sousa.

On January 31, 2023 I reported that Portugal’s Constitutional Court rejected the third euthanasia bill. At that time the Portugal News reported:

The Constitutional Court considered that “an intolerable lack of definition as to the exact scope of application” of the decree on medically assisted death had been created, noting that the parliament went “further”, changing “in essential aspects” the previous bill.

This was the third decree approved by parliament to decriminalise medically assisted death in a period of about two years.

The first was also declared unconstitutional by the TC [Constitutional Court], in March 2021, following a request for preventive inspection by the President of the Republic, due to insufficient normative densification.

In November of the same year, President de Sousa used the political veto in relation to the second parliamentary decree on this matter, as it contained contradictory expressions.

The previous bill had passed on December 9. Similar to the other previous bills, the bill used vague language, as the Constitutional Court stated, the bill had “an intolerable lack of definition as to the exact scope of the application.”

I am concerned that President de Sousa’s veto will only slow down the legalization of euthanasia / assisted suicide in Portugal. 

Euthanasia directly and intentionally causes the death of a person by lethal injection. Portugal needs to commit to a culture that cares for its citizens in need, not kills.

 Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog.

Categories: Euthanasia
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