Portugal has mobilized in favor of life in the face of a new attempt by the socialist government to legalize euthanasia in the country. The pro-life movement mobilized March 18 in several Portuguese cities, just days before Parliament was to consider a new bill to legalize euthanasia, after the previous text was vetoed in February by (Catholic) Republic President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
The rally was promoted by the Portuguese Federation for Life, which prior to the march issued a statement saying that in the country “euthanasia is more discussed than the right to palliative care.” The March for Life took place in cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Évora, Coimbra, Funchal and Santarém, among others. On 9 December 2022, the Portuguese Parliament passed the law regulating euthanasia, which was then sent to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and then to the Constitutional Court for consideration.
In January this year, the Court declared the law unconstitutional. It stated that “intolerable uncertainty has been generated as to the exact scope of the new law.” Since the law spoke of “physical, psychological and spiritual” suffering, interconnected by the conjunction “and,” this could generate “antagonistic interpretations” and the three characteristics could be considered “cumulatively or individually,” it said. With the Constitutional Court delivering such decision, President De Sousa vetoed the law.
However, on 15 March leaders of four parties announced that the new text on the legalization of euthanasia in Portugal will be debated and voted on in Parliament on 31 March. The Liberal Initiative, Left Bloc, People-Animals-Nature and the Socialist Party are working on the new text. Drastic changes are being made to Parliament’s continued attempts to pass a law decriminalizing assisted suicide/euthanasia. We have learned that the clauses envisage the “self-administration” of lethal injection-unless the person wishing to die is physically incapacitated to do so, in which case the drug may be administered by a physician who must certify that the patient is unable to give himself the injection. According to reports, this new provision “configures a significant reduction in the scope of medically assisted death and seeks to respond to the arguments of President Marcelo and the Constitutional Court that deemed the previous bill unconstitutional.” The new version of the text, however, continues to be drafted by political parties ahead of the discussion scheduled for 31 March