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Portugal parliament rejects legal euthanasia

Portugal parliament rejects legal euthanasia

LISBON, Portugal – The Latest on Portugal’s consideration of legalizing doctor-assisted suicide.

Portuguese lawmakers have rejected proposals to make Portugal one of only a handful of countries in the world allowing euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

After a landmark debate Tuesday, lawmakers voted to reject four broadly similar bills introduced by left-leaning parties.

The bill that came closest to succeeding was the governing center-left Socialist Party’s proposal, which lost on a 115-110 vote.

Euthanasia – when a doctor kills patients at their request – is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Switzerland, and some U.S. states assisted suicide – where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision – is permitted.

Portuguese lawmakers are preparing for a landmark debate on whether to make Portugal one of only a handful of countries in the world allowing euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

A debate in parliament Tuesday will end in a vote on four broadly similar bills tabled by left-leaning parties, including the governing Socialist Party.

The outcome is uncertain and is likely to be close, with many of the 230 lawmakers voting in accordance with their conscience instead of toeing a party line.

But even if one of the bills is approved, it could still be blocked by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The head of state has no executive powers but can veto legislation.

Rebelo de Sousa, reluctant to influence the parliamentary debate, hasn’t said what he will do.

Source: AP
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