The Portuguese Parliament has voted to reject a controversial proposal to legalize euthanasia — the practice in which a doctor kills a patient upon request.
Last week, four laws – each from a different political party – were presented to parliament, the Catholic Herald reported.
The proposals deeply divided the nation, which predominately practices Catholicism. Pro-euthanasia supporters seemed to have gathered momentum in its campaigning up to a week before the vote, but then the Communist party announced that it would be voting against the vote.
— José Miguel Sardo (@jmsardo) May 29, 2018
The vote was a close one after a landmark debate took place, The Washington Post reported.
Church figures and Portugal’s National Ethics Council had spoken out against legalizing euthanasia.
“The great project we have before us now is to work for the dignity of life throughout its existence, especially for those who are in a more precarious situation, or need our companionship, as a society and as a state,” said Cardinal Manuel Clemente, the Patriarch of Lisbon, who welcomed the results of the vote.
Clemente said the rejection to legalize euthanasia should now be translated into reformed palliative care, which is lacking in the country. In the law two years, just 14 beds were opened for patients in palliative care, and government funds are lacking.
Cardinal-elect António Marto, the bishop of Leiria-Fátima, said parliament showed common sense on an issue that “is so delicate and complex that it goes beyond partisan ideology.” The vote was reflective of the general disposition of the Portuguese population, he said.
(H/T: The Catholic Herald)