Euthanasia legalised in Portugal

Revised bill finally passed

Euthanasia clip art

Lawmakers in Portugal voted on Friday to legalize euthanasia by approving a revised bill that fixed objections raised earlier by the Constitutional Court.

The vote was 138 in favour, 84 against and five abstentions. The original bill was vetoed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in March.

The new law specifies the conditions under which euthanasia, or “medically assisted death” is not punishable, thus changing the country’s Penal Code.

The rules are quite restrictive, and only people over 18, who are Portuguese citizens or foreigners legally resident in the country, can resort to euthanasia, the practice of intentionally ending life to relieve pain and suffering.

Only patients in situations of “intolerable suffering, with severe permanent injury or incurable and fatal disease” can opt for this final procedure. Those diagnosed with mental illnesses cannot choose assisted suicide.

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