Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced the decision with a short note published on the official website of the Presidency of the Republic.
"The Assembly of the Republic confirmed on the 12th of May, by an absolute majority of the deputies in office, the new version of the diploma on medically assisted death, for which reason the President of the Republic promulgated Decree n.º 43/XV, of the Assembly of the Republic, as required under article 136, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic", reads the note.
The decree, which the head of state had vetoed on April 29, was confirmed on Friday, and went to the Belém Palace on the same day for promulgation.
It had 129 votes in favour, from the majority of PS deputies, from the Liberal Initiative and Left Bloc benches and from the single PAN and Livre deputies, 81 votes against, from the majority of PSD deputies and the Chega and PCP benches, and there was a social-democratic deputy who abstained.
Article 136.º, nº 2 of the Constitution imposes that, after the veto of a decree, "if the Assembly of the Republic confirms the vote by an absolute majority of the deputies in office, the President of the Republic must promulgate the diploma in the within eight days of receipt".
In this decree, which amends the Penal Code, "a non-punishable medically assisted death is considered to be that which occurs by decision of the person, of age, whose will is current and reiterated, serious, free and enlightened, in a situation of suffering of great intensity, with definitive injury of extreme severity or serious and incurable disease, when practiced or helped by health professionals".
The last article stipulates that "this law enters into force 30 days after the publication of the respective regulation", which is up to the Government to approve.
The regulation of the law should establish, among other points, the model for the clinical record of requests for medically assisted death and the model for the final medical report.
The first Portuguese law on this matter establishes that "medically assisted death can only occur by euthanasia when medically assisted suicide is impossible due to the patient's physical incapacity".
Medically assisted suicide is defined as the "administration of lethal drugs by the patient himself, under medical supervision", and euthanasia as the "administration of lethal drugs by a doctor or health professional duly qualified for the purpose".
When the first legislative initiatives on this matter appeared, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a practicing Catholic, defended a long and broad public debate, but he placed himself outside the discussion.
This was the fourth decree that parliament passed to decriminalise medically assisted death under certain conditions.
The President of the Republic sent the first decree on this matter to the Constitutional Court, in February 2021, vetoed the second, in November of the same year, and also sent the third for preventive inspection, in January of this year. The two submissions to the Constitutional Court led to vetoes for unconstitutionality.
On April 19, before the fourth decree, the President of the Republic vetoed it, but dismissed doubts of constitutionality, pointing out only "a problem of precision" in two specific points, and commented on an eventual confirmation saying: "There is no drama ".