Portuguese President Vetoes Euthanasia Law Again

December 08, 2021
Source: fsspx.news
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has once again vetoed the euthanasia law passed by the Portuguese Parliament. The President of the Portuguese Republic asked for clarification on the conditions required to be able to request assisted suicide, because, according to him, the text does not specify whether one must suffer from a fatal, incurable, or simply serious disease.

The President of the Republic of Portugal, a practicing Catholic, yesterday vetoed the euthanasia law, approved by Parliament on November 5, and called for clarification of “what appear to be contradictions” in the text.

According to a statement published on the website of the Presidency of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa asked for two clarifications on “questions which have arisen only in this version of the law.”

“The decree maintains in a norm the requirement of a 'fatal illness' for authorization to anticipate death, which came from the first version of the title. But, it extends, in another norm, to ‘incurable disease’ even if it is not fatal, and, in yet another, to ‘serious disease,’” the statement said.

The President of the Republic adds that he “is asking Parliament to clarify whether 'fatal disease' is required, or whether it is only 'incurable' or only 'serious' disease.’”

He also is asking the Assembly to indicate the reasons for a “considerable change in the weighting of the values ​​of life and free self-determination.”

“The change that has taken place, in about nine months, between the first version of the law and the current version, corresponds to a considerable change in the weighting of the values ​​of life and free self-determination, in the context of Portuguese society,” the statement read.

At the beginning of November, the Portuguese Parliament revised and approved the decree on the legalization of euthanasia, after the unconstitutional veto in March by the President of the Republic on the first version of the decree, approved at the end of January in Parliament. This veto was ratified by the Portuguese Constitutional Court.

Following the approval of parliamentary decree no. 199 / XIV of November 5, 2021, which “regulates the conditions of decriminalization of medically assisted death and modifies the Penal Code,” the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP) requested the intervention of the “highest authorities” of the country to stop the legislation approved by Parliament.

“In the hope that the highest authorities of the country will make a decision in accordance with the constitutional prerogatives at their disposal, the Church will continue to do everything possible to defend human life and to fight for the increasing spread of citizen palliative care to which every citizen is entitled,” as may be read in the final communiqué of the 201st Plenary Assembly of the CEP, which was held in Fatima from November 8 to 11.

It should be noted that the President's decision comes in a special context since the Head of State announced his decision to dissolve Parliament and to call early parliamentary elections on January 30, 2022.

Theoretically, the left-wing majority in parliament could overturn the presidential veto by voting on the same text a second time. But pending new elections, Parliament has limited powers and the decision will rest with the future legislature.