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Marche – the first region in Italy to authorize euthanasia

Marche – the first region in Italy to authorize euthanasia

However, there is still a lack of legally-defined procedure for assisted suicides

The ethics committee of the Marche Region health authority became the first institution in Italy to grant the right to euthanasia to a claimant, who is represented by a right-to-die activist organization. Although the Italian Constitutional Court ruled out already in 2019 that assisted suicide is lawful in some cases, there has not been a corresponding initiative from the country’s parliament to adopt corresponding legislation.

Thus, people such as the unnamed claimant (referred to as ‘Mario’), who has been living for 11 years paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident, have been living in a legal limbo adding to their physical and mental suffering.

The Constitutional Court is deciding whether to allow a referendum on the issue

The Marche authority granted the request from Mario following two legal petitions, filed on his behalf by the Luca Coscioni Association, an NPO campaigning for the right to euthanasia to be legalized in the country.

 "After the Constitutional Court effectively legalized assisted suicide, no ill person has been able to benefit from it, as the national health service hid behind the lack of a law that sets the procedure," explained Marco Cappato, Treasurer of the activist NPO, quoted by ANSA news agency. "Mario is going ahead anyway thanks to the courts and highlighting the buck-passing that is taking place (in the process). What is lacking now is the definition of the process to administer the euthanasia medicine.”

In Mr Cappato’s opinion, the responsibility for this administrative debacle lies squarely with the passivity of the Italian Parliament, which has been reluctant to propose a draft bill for debate and voting in the chamber. The controversial and hot issue is one that most institutions in the still traditionally Catholic country are not too keen on dealing with decisively.

Yet there is a growing demand for a law to materialize. Over a million people had already signed a petition, spearheaded by the Luca Coscioni Association, asking for a referendum on legalizing euthanasia. That means that the Constitutional Court is already looking into it since the minimum requirement for petitions is 500, 000 signatures.

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