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Portugal Parliament Vote to Allow Euthanasia

On Thursday, 230-member Republic Assembly of Portugal parliament votes to legalise euthanasia and medically-assisted suicide for terminally sick people. This vote has made Portugal one of the few countries in the world that have permitted the procedures, however, the country’s president might try to block the legislation.

The Portugal parliament approved five such right-to-die bills each with comfortable margin while several people gathered outside parliament building protesting the measure chanting “Sim a Vida” as in their opinion Euthanasia does not end suffering it ends life.

On the other hand, things were tensed inside the parliament considering the historical weight of the situation. Each member was called in alphabetical order to state their vote on each of the five bills instead of electronic voting. Usually, such lengthy method is followed only for landmark decisions such as a declaration of war or impeachment.

After these bills were passed few lawmakers decided to take photographs of the electronic screen on the wall announcing the results using their smartphones. The bills got approved by margins between 28 and 41 votes.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa who was known to be critical about euthanasia could try and veto the law but parliament can overturn the veto with a second vote for approval as the Portuguese president doesn’t have many executive powers the law could still remain but he may ask the Constitutional Court to review the legislation.

Euthanasia is a process where the doctor directly gives fatal drugs to a patient which is legal in countries like Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Medically assisted suicide is a process where the patients take the lethal drug under medical supervision which is permitted in few states in the USA. Similar motion is also set in the socialist-led coalition government in Spain where they plan to take all legislative steps required to legalise euthanasia.

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