By Joel Balsinha/Lisbon
The Euthanasia Law was passed this Friday, January 29, in the final global vote, despite the attempt to postpone the Social Democratic Party, in Parliament. Following this approval, the bishops and pro-life movements were outraged by the measure.
“With the vote that the Assembly of the Republic has just made, the next steps should be guided by the same tolerance and respect for the free and informed decision of each one that animated the majority of this Parliament. In a society that is friendly to pluralism and a State that is friendly to the law there is no place for any preconceived mural primacy. The only order of values that the legislator must have is that embodied in the Constitution of the Republic and the Law that we approve here today does so without blemish. This Law has many names, that of Laura Ferreira dos Santos and João Ribeiro Santos who triggered the civic mobilization that culminated in this Law.
The name of Luis Marques whose public testimony of determination taught us that there is no physical limit to the struggle for the respect of dignity. Law deprived a lot of an end of life that respected them. The name of each pro-activist who struggled to make this moment happen. The name of each and every one of the deputies. It is together, and very fair, that this happened that congresswoman Isabel Moreira, who put all her determination and knowledge in order to have a tolerant and strict law, but among so many names that made the path that today gains force of law there is one in which all the credits that she brings together for our democracy and that is the name of João Semedo.
João Semedo’s courage, knowledge, thoughtfulness, work, great humanity coined this law and this would have to be the day that he would be here with us to approve it, and it was, because this is the João Semedo law ” , in a statement of vote, deputy José Manuel Pureza of Left Block (BE).
Congressman Antonio Filipe of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) also said that he had known since the debate that they had in general that “the position that the PCP expressed and reiterated in this general global session regarding the legislation that we have just passed. Our position is understanding the humanity of those considering the extreme situation in which someone may find themselves, understanding that from an individual point of view it is possible to end life. What we are called to approve here is not the judgment of each individual’s conscience, but the social consequences that may arise from an option of the legislator. It is a message from the legislator to society. Hence on the part of the PCP the just fear that this message may lead to the establishment of precedence in our country that we do not want to see here That the idea of trivializing the use of euthanasia can be installed.
Experience that exists in other countries is not positively inspiring, and we do not wish we would like situations in Portugal to repeat themselves and install something here that could be close to a business at the expense of anticipating the death of people who, thinking of the difficulties that exist, namely in access to palliative care or health care in general , may think that their only alternative is to anticipate their death because they are not offered care in life that is adequate and sufficient. It is the fear that there will be profoundly negative social consequences with the approval of this legislation that fundamentally determines the voting position that the PCP expresses here “.
On the other hand, deputy José Luis Ferreira dos Verdes (ENP) expressed the importance of this day for our country because today it was approved in the assembly “a law that defines the conditions in which medically assisted death is not punishable. It is a proposal whose legislative process met with participation and an alleged debate. Few new legislative processes met this assembly. A diploma that establishes the process surrounded by all the cautions and guarantees that are only possible in very particular situations, determined and very well defined in the law that requires a request, conscious and trained that can be revoked at any time without any formalities. This is a good law to which the Greens also contributed with their proposals. Still, I would like to leave two notes: 1st regret the fact the proposal by the Greens on the guarantee of medically assisted death would only be possible if the SNS did not deserve the consensus of all benches. with this proposal to remove the private sector from this debate and solution. It was a way of ensuring that medically assisted death did not become a business factor that unfortunately did not deserve the understanding of the other benches; 2nd, this law cannot in any way reduce, or lighten, or hold the State responsible in its duty to guarantee their access to patients to palliative care and to ensure a good network of continuous care. On the part of the Greens, we will be here to demand an investment in palliative care and a good network of continuous care. The Greens consider that we are dealing with a balanced, sensible, just law that guarantees the essentials of security and compliance with legal criteria “.
Deputy Isabel Moreira of the Socalist Party (PS), on behalf of the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party, welcomed “the approval of a tolerant, plural law that respects and protects those who want to live as nature dictates until the last ones. days of his life, but that respects those who choose the day of his death with the assistance of third parties in circumstances limited by the constitutional framework. It is the law that instead of pursuing some, welcomes the choices of each person. home, remembering with gratitude and great longing and in particular João Semedo. This was a legislative process, serious, serene, open and participatory. The work group of Mónica Quintela, whose work and dedication we are grateful for, the replacement text approved here is the result, not only of the will of the bill of the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party and the other the proponents but the contributions collected. There, we listened attentively to those who defended this law and also very extensive to those who opposed it directly. It was in this democratic plurality that we arrived here “.
The Deputy André Silva of the Party of Animals and Nature (PAN) added that the “approved text closes several years of an intense and ugly social and political formation by all sectors of our country attested by the President of the Republic, which in May 2018 I said, and I quote, that there was a debate for all political and religious and social supporters, the debate never stopped. Today, a progressive, solidary and empathetic majority enshrines in the law the general feeling of the Portuguese who want a State that grants freedom, autonomy and self-determination to those who are lucidly at the end of their lives in order to choose to anticipate their death and leave according to your values. The decision about medically assisted death is final and irreversible. We know that it carries risks and that it can promote abuse “.
Finally, The Deputy Telmo Correia said, CDS-PP was tough in both words, with the session ending, expressing that Euthanasia is a defeat for everyone. The answer is never to abandon those who suffer, it is never to give up, but to care and love to restore hope. By the way of quotations, the phrase is not mine is from Pope Francis. The CDS voted against. We vote against it because we consider it a mistake to allow killing lives that by the advancement of medicine or by changing one’s will could be saved. It is an error because it corresponds to a culture of death and suicide whose propaganda is now permitted. It is a mistake to be against all deontology and against all ethics of those who have sworn medical profession and health professionals in general. It is a mistake because in our opinion, and we hope it will be demonstrated, and we will do everything for that, it is against the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and the value of life as it has enshrined. But at this moment, and in addition to these arguments against, when the country still does not yet have to offer those who suffer, and in particular, to the elderly, palliative care worthy of a rule of law and developed. Consecrating Euthanasia is also a mistake. Finally, I say it is unacceptable that in times when 300 Portuguese or more die per day, in times when thousands of people die a week, many of them the oldest in homes or at home, what Parliament has to offer to the Portuguese is an idea of death. Offer them life, support, treatment and care that the country does not yet have to do so. It is an indignity. It’s a shame”.
The decriminalization of medically assisted death was approved with 136 votes in favor and 78 against and four abstentions. The votes in favor were from the Left Bloc, Liberal Initiative, PAN, PEV, Socialist Party, Social Democratic Party and non-registered deputies Joacine Katar Moreira and Cristina Rodrigues. The abstentions observed during the Assembly were two deputies from the PS and an equal number from the PSD.The Portuguese Episcupal Conference, through a note, mentions that in the “Jubilee Year of Mercy, we remember that this leads us to help live to the end. Not to kill or to help to die”, stressing that “this is undoubtedly a danger aggravated in a context of an aging population and financial restrictions on health services that can be implicitly or explicitly questioned: why spend so many resources on terminally ill patients when their lives can be shortened?”
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