Portugal legalizes Euthanasia

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Portugal has passed a law legalizing euthanasia for individuals experiencing great suffering and incurable diseases, becoming one of the few countries in the world to do so. The deeply Catholic country was divided over the issue, and conservative president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, known for his strong religious beliefs, strongly opposed the law.The law permits individuals over the age of 18 to request assistance in dying if they are terminally ill and enduring unbearable pain. However, it will only apply to Portuguese nationals and legal residents and will not extend to foreigners seeking assisted dying in the country.

The law has been approved by parliament multiple times in the past, but each time it was sent back for constitutional review due to the president’s opposition. The final version of the law was adopted with the support of the governing socialists, who hold a majority in the chamber.The president now has a week to approve the law, after which it could come into force by autumn. Supporters of the law view its adoption as the end of a long battle. However, critics argue that the issue should have been put to a referendum and hope that opposition deputies will seek a constitutional review once again.While Portugal’s move to legalize euthanasia has been relatively swift compared to other countries, concerns remain. Some anticipate strong resistance from doctors who may have moral objections to carrying out euthanasia, similar to the resistance faced during the legalization of abortions in 2007.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are only permitted in a handful of countries, including neighboring Spain and the Benelux nations.Overall, Portugal’s new law reflects a significant development in the global debate on euthanasia, highlighting the complexities and diverse perspectives surrounding end-of-life decisions.

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