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Portugal votes against decriminalising euthanasia

A BID by the Portuguese government to decriminalise euthanasia was narrowly defeated last night.

MPs voted 115-110 against the change with four abstentions. The Portuguese Communist Party, on whose support the governing Socialists often rely to pass legislation, opposed decriminalisation.

Communist MP Antonio Filipe explained that the party saw euthanasia “not as a sign of progress but a step towards civilisational retrogression with profound social, behavioural and ethical implications.

“In a context in which the value of human life is frequently made conditional on criteria of social utility, economic interest, family responsibilities and burdens or public spending, legalisation of early death would add a new dimension of problems,” he told parliament.

“First of all accelerating the deaths of those to whom society refuses to respond and support in situations of fragility and need.

“Faced with human suffering, the solution is not to divest society of responsibility by promoting early death but to ensure conditions for a dignified life.”

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