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Portuguese Parliament approves euthanasia

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Portuguese Parliament approves euthanasia

Lisbon, Jan 30 (IANS) The Portuguese Parliament has approved the legalisation of euthanasia “practiced or helped by health professionals” in the country with 136 votes of deputies in favour and 78 against, in addition to four abstentions.

According to the bill approved on Friday, a person aged over 18 can be medically assisted in death “whose will is current and reiterated, serious, free and enlightened, in a situation of intolerable suffering, with a definite injury of extreme severity in accordance with scientific consensus or incurable and fatal disease”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The bill, which also guarantees that doctors and nurses can refuse to assist in euthanasia due to “conscientious objection” will now go to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who may veto, send it to the Constitutional Court or even promulgate directly.

Portugal will become the fourth country in Europe and the seventh in the world to legalise euthanasia if the President promulgates this law.

Representing the Catholic Church, the largest organised religion in the country, the Portuguese Episcopal Conference protested against the approval in Parliament.

In addition to Catholics, 12 private health care institutions called for an intervention by the President to prevent the legalisation of euthanasia.

“At a time when thousands of people, countless institutions, in a daily superhuman effort, care for the sick and vulnerable and fragile people, giving everything to save lives, the approval of euthanasia represents disrespect for all these people,” a statement by the “Stop Euthanasia” movement said.




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