May 28, 2024

Portuguese Parliament passes its third euthanasia bill – but will the President sign it?

Portugal’s parliament approved a new version of a euthanasia bill approved, this Friday. The third version now goes to the President, Marcelo Rebello de Sousa.

This is almost becoming a habit in Portugal. The president has already vetoed two previous versions of the bill and passed them to the Constitutional Court for review, as provided by the country’s constitution. Then the bill returns to Parliament.

President Rebelo de Sousa, a Catholic, a moderate centre-right politician, a journalist, and a law professor, is known to have profound reservations about signing the bill into law.

“If there are doubts of constitutionality, I raise them before the Constitutional Court. If I have political reservations, I will return it to Parliament. If there is neither one thing nor the other, I will promulgate it,” the president said.

The proposed bill resembles euthanasia laws in other jurisdictions. It would be open to freely consenting adults, who are “in a situation of intolerable suffering, with extremely serious and permanent harm … or incurable and fatal disease.” Only citizens and legal residents would be eligible to prevent suicide tourism.