Portugal Considers Allowing Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide

(From AP News)

After legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage in recent times, Portuguese lawmakers will decide Tuesday on another issue that has brought a confrontation between faith and politics in this predominantly Catholic country: whether to allow euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

The outcome of the vote is uncertain and is likely to be close, but Portugal could become one of just a handful of countries in the world to permit euthanasia under certain circumstances.

Euthanasia — when a doctor kills patients at their request — is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Switzerland, and some U.S. states, assisted suicide — where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision — is permitted.

A 2016 petition by right-to-die activists pushed the contentious and divisive issue of euthanasia onto the political agenda. It got more than 8,000 signatures — more than double the amount needed to force a parliamentary debate last year.

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