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Euthanasia: Shouldn’t Be The Only Solution

The Portuguese Association of Palliative Care (APCP), today stated that the approval of the euthanasia law by parliament, was masking the urgent need to solve the serious problems within the healthcare service, namely people being unable to access the appropriate medical help.

The Assembly of the Republic, approved on Thursday, in general, the four projects of the PS, BE, IL and PAN that regulate the decriminalisation of medically assisted death.  In the vote on the four diplomas, the majority of the deputies of the PS bench and also the BE, Iniciativa Liberal and the sole deputies of Livre, Rui Tavares, and PAN, Inês Sousa Real, voted in favour, while the Portuguese Communist Party, Chega and PSD voted against.

Medically assisted death has been decriminalised in five European countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Spain, all of whom use different ethical models.

APCP, who reject euthanasia, demand that the State guarantees access to health care, and that palliative care is available to all who need it regardless of the illness, age, education or place of residence.

“It remains very worrying that a large number of deputies do not seem to recognise the obvious need for palliative medicine intervention in the case of complex suffering resulting from the disease,” criticised the organisation.

In Portugal, assisted death is not classified as a crime, but the practice can be punished under three articles of the Penal Code: privileged murder (article 133), murder at the request of the victim (article 134) and criminal of incitement or assisted suicide (Article 135).

Samantha Gannon

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