September 23, 2011 ( – Although the Portuguese parliament is currently deliberating over several bills that could legalize physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, the debate may be largely a moot point.

According to Miguel Oliveira da Silva, president of Portugal’s National Ethics Council for Life Sciences, only one in ten doctors would be willing to commit euthanasia if it were legalized.

“If its obligatory, there is always the possibility of doctors invoking conscientious objection,” said Oliveira following his testimony on the subject in the Parliament last week.

“Conscientious objection by doctors will certainly exceed that of Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (abortion), which was 80 percent. It could even exceed 90 percent,” stated Oliveira.

At least four different proposals are under consideration in the country following an initial push for end-of-life legislation by the Bloc of the Left.  The version backed by the Socialist Party states that “through a living will, the signer, a competent adult, who is of sound mind, can determine the forms of healthcare that he wants to receive or not in the future, including feeding and hydration, in case that, for whatever reason, he is rendered incapable of giving informed consent in an autonomous way.”


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