Portugal parliament approves bill to legalize euthanasia

The parliament of Portugal voted on Friday to legalize euthanasia, which, if signed into law, would make it the seventh country in the world to do so.

The vote was 136-78 with four abstentions in favor of approving the bill, which would allow people over the age of 18 who are in extreme suffering or faced with an incurable and fatal disease to seek assistance in dying. The request would require the intervention of two or three doctors. An advising doctor and a specialist in a particular injury or illness are mandatory, and a psychiatrist would be necessary if there are any doubts about the patient’s state of mind or ability to make the request of their own free will. Access to assisted suicide would only be open to citizens and legal residents of Portugal.

The law now goes to the desk of President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a conservative who could veto the bill. He has said in the past that the decision to veto the bill or not would depend on the state of society at the moment he is asked to make the decision and that it would not be “an affirmation of personal positions.” The president has 20 days to consider the bill.

Portugal is not the only country pushing legislation for the practice: German lawmakers proposed a similar bill on Friday.