Assisted suicide: should Portugal legalise it?
Portugal's parliament will debate five bills on assisted suicide on Thursday. Citizens are to decide in a referendum whether or not the practice should be legalised in the future. The Portuguese media also debate the pros and cons of this sensitive issue.
Alleviate suffering instead of inducing death
Specialist in internal medicine Francisco Adão da Fonseca speaks out clearly in Público against euthanasia:
“The legalisation of euthanasia cannot be a priority, nor do I believe that this is the answer that the national health system should give to these patients. When a person is surrounded by despair, the state and society must help him alleviate his suffering rather than to lead him to his death. If a patient asks to be killed because he feels his life is meaningless or because he feels he is a burden on others, the state should not confirm this feeling of a less dignified life.”
Assisted suicide respects life
Socialist MP Maria Antónia Almeida Santos argues in favour of a dignified death for everyone in Diário de Notícias:
“We have the opportunity to enable further development based on the reality of our situation, including a correspondingly diversified legislation such as already exists elsewhere in Europe. Inconvenience must not be an obstacle to reflection, debate and the resulting legislative process. ... The decriminalisation of assisted suicide will never free the state from its duty to protect life. Nor will it create an incentive [to rashly resort to assisted suicide]. On the contrary, it respects the concrete life of each individual right to the end. ”