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Portugal. Law legalizing euthanasia vetoed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

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The law legalizing euthanasia in Portugal was vetoed by the president. Now he will return to a unicameral parliament. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for the second time this year refused to sign the regulations allowing the legalization of the so-called medically assisted death.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa vetoed a law legalizing euthanasia in the country on Monday at the end of the day. In line with the head of state’s remarks, published by the presidential office, Rebelo de Sousa pointed to a contradiction in the rules on euthanasia approved in November this year.


The Portuguese president said that the law states that “terminally ill” people qualify for medically assisted death, but that it also allows the termination of the lives of patients suffering from “incurable diseases” and “serious illnesses”. The Rebelo de Sousa called it “a legal contradiction.”

The Parliament in Portugal, the Assembleia da República, can now amend the law or reject the president’s veto. However, it is unlikely that he would have had time to do so before being disbanded ahead of the early elections scheduled for January 30.

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Euthanasia in Portugal. Two bills without the president’s support

The law vetoed by the president was passed by the unicameral parliament on November 5 this year mainly thanks to the votes of the governing socialists and smaller left-wing and liberal groups.

It envisaged that an adult could undergo euthanasia after prior medical consultations. During them, it was to be necessary to confirm that the patient suffers chronically or is terminally ill.

The document approved in November is the second law adopted by the Portuguese parliament this year to legalize euthanasia. First, passed on January 29 this year, was directed by the president to Constitutional Court of that country, and the latter found it inconsistent with the basic law of the country. The Portuguese Constitutional Tribunal decided then that the provisions legalizing euthanasia were in conflict with, inter alia, the principle of the inviolability of human life contained in the constitution.

Main photo source: Andre Roque Almeida / Shutterstock

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