Portugal's top court narrowly rejects euthanasia Bill over 'imprecision'

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Portugal’s Constitutional Court has blocked a law passed by parliament introducing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill and gravely injured people, ABC News reports. The court said in a statement that the law is imprecise in identifying the circumstances under which those procedures can occur. The judges rejected the law in a 7-5 ruling.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa asked the Constitutional Court last month to evaluate the law, which parliament passed early this year. The law requires the president’s approval to enter into force.

The governing centre-left Socialist Party, which was the driving force behind the bill, said that if the head of state sends the Bill back to parliament it will re-word the legislation and pass it again.

The court agreed with Rebelo de Sousa, who said the legislation appeared to be insufficiently precise and apt to create legal uncertainty.

The court said in its decision that the rules on when euthanasia can take must be “clear, precise, clearly envisioned and controllable.” The law lacks the “indispensable rigor,” the judges wrote.

Several other European Union nations allow euthanasia and assisted suicide.


Full ABC News report (Open access)



See also MedicalBrief archives:

Spain and Portugal should reconsider ‘turning death into a medical treatment’


Are the Dutch euthanasia laws a ‘slippery slope’?


First euthanisation of a child in Belgium

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