Euthanasia: Decree sent to Belém on Friday and PR must enact it by Saturday

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The decree of the Assembly of the Republic that decriminalizes medically assisted death, confirmed Friday by the deputies, was sent the same day to the Palace of Belém, and the President must promulgate it in eight days, until Saturday.

The information about the date when it will be sent to Belém can be found on the official website of the Assembly of the Republic.

According to the Constitution of the Republic, when faced with a veto, parliament can confirm the text by an absolute majority of the deputies in office, 116 out of 230, in which case the President of the Republic must promulgate the law within eight days of its receipt.

On Friday, in Aveiro, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said he will enact the euthanasia law because the Constitution he has sworn to uphold leaves him no other choice.

“I swore to the Constitution. The Constitution obliges the President to enact a law that he vetoed and that was confirmed by the Assembly of the Republic (…) it is my constitutional duty,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The parliament confirmed on Friday the decree on medically assisted death, which had been vetoed by the President of the Republic, with a total of 129 votes in favor, 81 votes against, and one abstention, forcing its enactment.

In favor of the confirmation were the overwhelming majority of MPs from the benches of the PS, IL, BE, and the representatives of the PAN and Livre, as well as eight PSD MPs.

A large majority of the PSD benches, the Chega and PCP parliamentary groups, and four PS deputies voted against the decree. The decree was also abstained by a PSD deputy.

It was the fifth time that deputies approved a decree on the subject, which has already been the target of two political vetoes by the head of state and two vetoes following unconstitutionalities decreed by the Constitutional Court.

The decree states that medically assisted death can only occur through euthanasia if assisted suicide is impossible due to the patient’s physical incapacity.

“Medically assisted death is considered not punishable when it occurs by decision of the person, of age, whose will is current and repeated, serious, free and informed, in a situation of great intensity of suffering, with definitive injury of extreme gravity or serious and incurable disease, when performed or assisted by health professionals,” reads the decree.

In this text, which is based on bills by PS, IL, BE and PAN, ‘severe suffering’ is defined as “suffering arising from serious and incurable disease or permanent injury of extreme severity, with great intensity, persistent, continuous or permanent and considered intolerable by the person himself.

The decree also establishes a minimum period of two months from the beginning of the procedure for its implementation, and the provision of psychological follow-up is also mandatory.

According to the text, “the Government shall approve, within 90 days after the publication of this law, the respective regulation” and the law shall enter into force 30 days “after the publication of the respective regulation.

The PSD has already assumed the commitment to “analyze the diploma with a view to formulating a request for successive review of constitutionality,” an appeal to the Constitutional Court that under the Constitution can be made by one tenth of the deputies, 23 out of 230.

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