Portugal parliament votes to legalize euthanasia

Portugal parliament votes to legalize euthanasia

PanARMENIAN.Net - Portugal’s parliament voted in favor of allowing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill people Thursday, February 20, CNBC reports.

The landmark vote means it the country poised to become one of the few countries in the world permitting the procedures. However, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa could still attempt to block it.

The Republican Assembly, Portugal's parliament, approved five right-to-die bills, each by a comfortable margin. Left-of-center parties introduced the bills, which had no substantial differences.

Before lawmakers voted, hundreds of people outside parliament building protested the measures. One banner said: “Euthanasia doesn't end suffering, it ends life.”

Some protesters held up crucifixes and religious effigies.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa could veto the new law, but parliament can override his veto by voting a second time for approval. The Portuguese president doesn't have executive powers.

The head of state also could ask the Constitutional Court to review the legislation as Portugal's Constitution states that human life is "sacrosanct," though abortion has been legal in the country since 2007.

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