“Euthanasia jeopardizes the mission of medicine”, Evangelical Focus

Portugal found itself embroiled in the euthanasia debate throughout 2021.

Now the majority has adopted the text again, but the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa used his right of veto block the law.

Earlier, the Portuguese Association of Christian Nurses and Doctors (AEMC, in Portuguese) had expressed their “concern”.

In a statement, they said: “It is regrettable that our country, one of the pioneers in the abolition of the death penalty, now intends join the sad minority of countries in the world where euthanasia is legal.

Neighboring Spain is the latest country to legalize euthanasia. Austria is also a few steps away from decriminalizing assisted suicide.

The group of Christian health workers believe that euthanasia is contrary to Article 24 of the Portuguese Constitution, which states that “human life is inviolable”.

The decriminalization of euthanasia may be presented as “a solution of last resort, in exceptional circumstances”, but the reality of “countries like the Netherlands or Belgium” is not encouraging, believes the FMEC. “Committing to euthanasia seems to be the simplest solution to relieving unbearable pain and suffering, which absolves the state and health services of taking responsibility for of the patient as a whole until the end of his life”.

The “physical dimension, but also the mental, social and spiritual dimensionmust be taken into account if we want to offer a “humanized” management of the patient.

“Any legislative change that may allow doctors and nurses to intentionally end the lives of patients, even after the voluntary and repeated request of the latterundermines the mission and purpose of medicine and health sciences, and professionals in ethics and deontology itself. It will also inevitably lead to a deterioration of the doctor-patient relationship.”

“As Christians, we believe and defend that life is a gift from God and that every human being has value and dignityfrom conception to natural death, whatever the circumstances,” concludes the Association of Christian Nurses and Doctors.

  The Portuguese Association of Christian Nurses and Doctors has joined the social debate about euthanasia.

 

Doctor jorge cruza Portuguese bioethics expert who has recently published on the issue of euthanasia in peer-reviewed journals, answered questions from Gospel orientation.

Question. Where is the law on euthanasia in Portugal currently?

To respond. On November 5, 2021, Portugal’s centre-left majority parliament voted for the second time this year to legalize euthanasia, approving a revised bill to resolve objections raised by the Constitutional Court.

The new version of the bill was adopted by 138 votes to 84 with five abstentions.

But Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa vetoed the bill, saying the conditions for authorizing euthanasia were too vague and sweeping.

This means that Parliament will have to resume the debate, and it is not certain that the current majority in favor of legalization will be maintained after the national legislative elections which will be held in January 2022.

Q. What were the positions in society and in politics?

A. Although pushed by the Socialist Party and the Radical Left Bloc, the issue transcended the left-right divide. The Portuguese Communist Party is against the decriminalization of euthanasia, while the Liberal Initiative party voted for it.

The two largest parties gave their legislators a free vote. A handful of socialists voted against, while the centre-right opposition leader voted in favor, against the vast majority of his social democratic party.

The Portuguese Medical Association, the Portuguese Nurses Association, the National Council of Ethics for Life Sciences (CNECV) and many other entities are against the legalization of euthanasia and have expressed concerns about the approval of the bill.

Q. What was the position of the Christian Association of Nurses and Doctors (AEMC)

A. The AEMC and the Portuguese Evangelical Alliance have repeatedly made public their position on this issue.

We, the AEMC, asked for an audience with the Portuguese President at the beginning of the year to talk about this subject, but we were not granted it.

Q. What do you hope will happen to this euthanasia law in the coming months?

A. We hope and pray that in the next Parliament, most lawmakers will be against legalizing euthanasia, or at least that there will be a referendum on the subject – despite all the misinformation and misunderstanding presented by the media in general.

Learn more about the Christian Association of Nurses and Doctors by visiting their website (Portuguese).

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– Christian doctors in Portugal: “Euthanasia jeopardizes the mission of medicine”

Barry F. Howard