Portugal's parliament makes third attempt to legalise euthanasia

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By AP  with Euronews
The four bills were proposed by left-wing Portuguese parties.
The four bills were proposed by left-wing Portuguese parties.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Armando Franca, File

Portugal’s parliament has tried to introduce a new law allowing euthanasia for the third time in just over a year.

The country's Constitutional Court and the president have blocked two previous bills passed by lawmakers due to unclear wording.

Four rewritten bills that would permit euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in Portugal were put to a vote in the 230-seat chamber on Thursday.

The proposals were all introduced by left-wing parties, including the ruling Socialist Party of Prime Minister António Costa.

The bills will allow a doctor to directly administer fatal drugs to a patient or a patient to administer the lethal drug themselves under medical supervision.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is likely to block the legislation once again or send it to the Constitutional Court for vetting.

In March 2021, Portugal's top court said the wording of a proposed bill legalising euthanasia was too “imprecise.”

Rebelo de Sousa then vetoed a second parliament-sanctioned bill last November.

The President said further clarification was needed about whether the proposed law would apply only to incurable illnesses or whether it could be extended to any fatal or serious illness.

None of the four new bills in parliament addresses Rebelo de Sousa's specific concerns and instead refers to “a situation of intolerable suffering, with a definitive injury of extreme seriousness or a serious and incurable disease.”