Portugal passes law decriminalizing euthanasia for those over 18

Portugal passes law decriminalizing euthanasia for those over 18

The standard was approved this Friday (May 12, 2023); President Rebelo has up to eight days to impose sanctions

Members of the Portuguese Parliament voted this Friday (May 12, 2023) to allow medicallyassisted euthanasia in the country under certain circumstances. The vote reversed a number of vetoes by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Health professionals can assist dying patients when they are in extreme distress from a terminal illness or disabling injury. The information comes from the AFP.

According to the law passed on May 6 (May 12), people over the age of 18 can apply for medical euthanasia in terminal illness and unbearable suffering. The legislation only applies to those suffering from “permanent” and “excruciating” pain. Here is the full text (39 KB, in Portuguese).

The legislation also covers cases of definitive and disabling injuries that “place the person in a situation of dependency on third parties or technical assistance in carrying out elementary activities of daily living”.

Patients who, according to a psychiatrist, are mentally unable to make the decision cannot benefit from the new law. The legislation applies only in state territory and to lawful residents. Foreigners who are in the country in search of euthanasia are also not taken into account.


The Euthanasia Law has been passed by the Portuguese Parliament four times in the past three years, but each time it has been sent back for constitutional review due to opposition from the President. The final version of the law was passed this Friday (May 12) with the support of leftwing parliamentarians, who have an absolute majority in the chamber.

Of the deputies, 129 voted in favor of the law and 89 against. There was one abstention. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is obliged to approve the bill within eight days of receipt once it is published in the Official Journal.