A draft bill to fully legalise euthanasia in Italy was presented for debate today in the Chamber of Deputies. The bill, presented under popular initiative after 130,000 signatures were collected, is entitled “Refusal of health care and lawfulness of euthanasia”and consists of four articles.
- The first article states that “any citizen may refuse the initiation or continuation of medical treatment, as well as any life-sustaining treatment or nutritional therapy. Medical and health personnel are obliged to respect the patient’s wishes.
- The second article adds that “each person may draw up a written document bearing a signature authenticated by the clerk of the city of residence or domicile where the request for euthanasia is made”.
- The third article provides details of the penalties facing health professionals who refuse euthanasia to patients who have requested it, as well as compensation for “moral and material damage caused by their behaviour”.
- The final article specifies that the request for euthanasia must be clear and unequivocal and “may not be subject to any conditions”.
This bill follows the Cappato-DJ Fabo case: an Italian politician was prosecuted for “instigating or aiding suicide” because he had helped a person with disabilities travel to Switzerland for an assisted suicide, which is prohibited in Italy. He says that euthanasia is not really prohibited in Italy. It is only reserved for patients wealthy enough to travel to Switzerland. The Milan Constitutional Court, which refused to give a ruling, sent the case back to Palais Montecitorio on 24 October 2018, requiring it to legislate before September 2019, in order to clarify the legal situation regarding euthanasia in Italy.