Proposals to decriminalize euthanasia passed in the Portuguese parliament on Thursday, for the third time in two years. 128 members of parliament voted in favor of the proposal by the Socialist Party (PS), while 88 voted against it.
Four parties in total presented a proposal, the Socialist Party (PS), the Left Bloc (BE), People Animals Nature (PAN), and the Liberal Initiative (IL), while the PS proposal was the most voted. The four proposals are quite similar and will be worked on in the Commission of Constitutional Issues, with the final global vote being set for July.
Chega’s proposal for a referendum that would allow the people of Portugal to make the decision on euthanasia was rejected.
The leader of PSD was not present as he was in South Africa, despite being in favor of the decriminalization of euthanasia and against a referendum. The leader of Chega, Andre Ventura, reminded those present that the newly elected leader of the PSD, Luis Montenegro has opposing views, being against the euthanasia proposal and in favor of a referendum.
Only six members of parliament for the PSD voted in favor of euthanasia, but PS has said that PSD will be involved in the process. Although Chega’s referendum was not approved, 61 members of parliament for PSD voted in favor of it.
In November of 2021, a euthanasia proposal was approved with 138 voted in favor, but was later vetoed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
While the voting was going on, hundreds protested in front of the parliament calling euthanasia “legal genocide”. The protest was promoted by the Portuguese Federation for Life, an organization that is also against abortion.
The results of the proposal do not mean that euthanasia is now decriminalized in Portugal. Just like in November, the president of Portugal can still veto the proposal, as well as the Supreme Court. However, the four parties that submitted their euthanasia proposals tried to surpass the issues the president found in older proposals. Even if a veto does not occur, it will take time to change the law in Portugal.
Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending someone’s life to relieve pain and suffering. Globally, the practice of euthanasia is legal in seven countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, and Colombia.