The Portuguese Evangelical Alliance laments that there was neither a broad “philosophical, social and religious” conversation nor enough guarantees of “palliative and social care”. The parliament passed a third version of the text in December.
Portugal is immersed in a lengthy debate around euthanasia that has led to the Parliament to pass a third version of a law that had been blocked first by the Constitutional Court and later the President of the Republic.
The Portuguese Evangelical Alliance (AEP in Portuguese) said it is “deeply concerned” about the new text and hopes it will not come into force because it opposes “a law that puts medically provoked death as a hypothesis”.
Despite the national parliament has discussed euthanasia for over two years, the bpdy representing evangelicals in Portugal believes “a broad debate of philosophical, social, religious and pragmatic analysis, never occurred in the preparation of this law”.
Additionally, “the palliative and social care necessary for the exercise of free decision and without coercion” is not guaranteed, according to the body 700 evangelical churches and 65 organisations is no happening either.
The law as it has been passed by a 126-84 majority in parliament, only puts pressure on “the most fragile” in “grave and irreversible” decision-making moments, says the AEP. “We note that the initial idea of anticipation of an imminent death […] was completely put aside, with the text now providing for ‘serious and incurable disease’, no longer being necessary to estimate that death could come soon”.
The decision process of the patient is also reduced to two months, “with very short deadlines for the opinions to be prepared during this period - 15 or 20 days for the issuing of the medical opinions and 5 days for the decision-making commission to respond”. The AEP sees no provisions for the patient to “be given a chance to change the decision”, “nor are situations considered in which the patient may be coerced by relatives or other intervening parties in this decision making”.
In view of the “unreasonableness of this law”, the Portuguese Evangelical Alliance “appeals to the President of the Republic to do everything within his powers and responsibilities so that this law does not enter into force”.
They also appeal “to the Constitutional Court to continue to fight for the principle of inviolability of human life, enshrined in the fundamental law”.
[title] Over a century of evangelical representation
The Portuguese Evangelical Alliance was established in 1921 and aims to bring together Portuguese Evangelicals and represent them before society and the State. It is the oldest and most comprehensive cooperation body of this Christian family, currently counting, as members, more than 700 local evangelical communities and about 65 organizations, including several bodies or federations of evangelical churches represented in Portugal.
The AEP is involved in the Inter-religious Working Group on Health of the government.