Who now decides on the Euthanasia Act? | opinion

1. The Constitutional Court’s decision on the controversial Euthanasia Act had merit up to the time of writing – merit that somehow, but not as clearly, lagged behind as it is now. The merit of demonstrating that, despite antagonistic positions, nobody or very few showed up in a Manichaean manner and achieved “victories” on one side or the other of the roundabout. There were those on both sides who rehearsed a triumphalistic speech, but without much acceptance or order. On the one hand, they would say that the law was obviously unconstitutional after all; On the other hand, they would contradict each other because the court did not consider that “euthanasia” always implied a violation of art. 24, which enshrines the impossibility of human life. Efforts to incorporate respect and even understanding for the position of the other in political discourse – and especially on issues of this sensitivity and touch – are a sign of political maturity and even of wise and argumentative intelligence. It is neither near nor far the main conclusion that can be drawn from this legal decision, but it deserves to be highlighted.

2. The first point that should be emphasized is that the law, as it was passed, is against the Constitution. In particular, it violates the definition of the conditions that can justify the legalization of medically assisted death, since, as they are not clear and resolute enough, they violate the principle of the democratic rule of law and the legislative reserve of the Assembly of the Republic. In other words, the situations in which “euthanasia” can be practiced with constitutional and legal coverage must be defined with a level of precision and detail that the monitored legislation simply did not meet. This issue is very important, in fact crucial, as it raises two arguments traditionally used against the legalization of euthanasia: one is its irreversibility; The other is the obvious risk of abuse.

3. Apparently these are practical arguments. On the one hand, it is important to ensure that the risk of errors and mistakes is reduced to zero or almost zero, since death, once it has occurred, cannot be reversed. On the other hand, the presence of ambiguities or inaccuracies in the concepts opens the door to abuse and the risk of informal and progressive expansion of the situations under consideration. However, it is important to know that, contrary to what was said and repeated yesterday afternoon and evening, these are not mere formal objections that are overcome with ingenious formulations. No they are not. Even in the short and concise statement, the Court makes it very clear that the violation of these constitutional principles takes place with reference to the right to life protected in art. 24. In other words, an act of euthanasia carried out under the now deprecated wording would violate the content of the right to life as set out in the Constitution.

4. The second point, which is very glossed over: the admission expressed by the Court that the legalization of euthanasia, which is carried out with stricter requirements than those contained in the law, is compatible with the principle of the inviolability of human life in this technology . 24. Many declared that there had been many doubts on this point and they were now dispelled. Regardless of what you think of the Court’s position, one thing is clear: it is neither surprising nor inconsistent with previous case law. It was no accident that the President of the Republic did not ask the question: it was only and certain because, as a highly respected constitutionalist, he already knew the answer.

This said in terms of the content and scope of the art. It is important to clarify that the Court did not establish a general right to seek death. He admitted that under very exceptional and clearly defined and precise circumstances – even more demanding than those provided for in this law – legalization would not violate the Constitution and hence the content of art. 24. Outside of these circumstances, it would always be unconstitutional.

5. This decision of the Constitutional Court has, in addition to the insertion of the points in the “actual” for certain reliefs, another positive consequence. The point is that it clearly shifts the question from the legal to the political terrain. With the statement – albeit in obiter dictum – that the legalization of euthanasia can be compatible with the constitution, it is also said that within these narrow limits this is an extremely political, civilizational and global decision. Precisely this legal clarification – anyone who knew the understanding of the Court of Justice and many of its colleagues would not need it – brings the question back to the realm of political choice. With the knowledge that this step is possible, the question now arises: who should really decide? WHO?

8. Something fundamental is at stake in this option for society as we understand and understand it. It is about a cut and a break with the prevailing worldview up to now; This cut and break lacks a social and civic validation of a unique nature. This decision legitimizes and promotes the idea of ​​the referendum by reopening the discussion and making it possible in the conditions in which it does so: the referendum as the ideal way to validate a fundamental political decision that mobilizes freedom of conscience par excellence. Freedom of conscience cannot be a prerogative of MPs; it must be extended to all citizens.

9. Here too I appeal to the PSD and its group: there is a unique opportunity to restart the referendum. I’m not just saying it because I’ve always defended it or because a motion was passed in Congress that claims it. But because this decision, if it directs the legal question, blatantly requires the need for a political decision that affects the inwardness of the person and the people who justify and deserve validation or who do not deserve validation in a referendum.

YES Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. He marked the inauguration with an encouraging speech. He reconnected the beginning of his duties with a visit to Pope Francis, a real global moral reserve now reinforced by the trip to Iraq.

NO Economic and Social Council. The idea of ​​a manual in neutral language is meaningless because of its artificiality. The example of the word “contributor” – hence a noun and an adjective with two sexes – says it all.

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