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Portugal’s parliament approves revised bill legalising euthanasia

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Portugal’s parliament has approved a revised bill legalising euthanasia for terminally ill and seriously injured people.

The legislation still requires the signature of Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to become law, and he is known to have deep reservations.

If he signs the second version of the bill, Portugal would become one of the few countries in the world that permit the procedures.

Only Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain have legalised forms of euthanasia.

Parliament passed the first version of the bill in January, but it was rejected by the country’s Constitutional Court after a review request by President Rebelo de Sousa.

Most of the court’s judges concluded the wording of the bill was “imprecise” in its definition of the circumstances under which a right to die could be granted.

The new version, approved in a 138-84 vote with five abstentions, now contains clearer wording.

A “serious injury” is now described as “definitive and amply disabling, which makes a person dependent on others or on technology to undertake elementary tasks of daily life”.

The proposed law states there must be “very high certainty or probability that such limitations endure over time without the possibility of cure or significant improvement.”

The bill received support from most centre-left parties in the Portuguese parliament.

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