Bills on civil unions, stepchild adoption, elimination of marital fidelity, and now it comes to euthanasia. Politics abandons caution and approaches yet another delicate issue, regardless, it seems, the different sensitivity of the Italian citizens. The House, which is already grappling with the second reading of the Stepchild Adoption Bill, has received four texts that want to introduce “mercy killing” into the Italian legal system. It is another tribute to a numb West, a Europe that has forgotten its founding values. The question is delicate because – like the previous ones – it concerns the lives of other individuals. Among the drafts submitted to the Justice committees and by the rapporteurs Daniele Farina (Sel) and Salvatore Capone (DP), there is also a popular initiative promoted by “Luca Coscioni” Association, which has been signed by nearly 105,000 citizens.
The text, presented to the House in September 13, 2013, is formed by 4 articles and stipulates that every citizen can “reject the beginning or continuation of medical treatment, as well as any kind of life support treatment or nutritional therapy.” The doctor and medical staff will have to respect the patient’s will, as long as it is expressed by a person of age who has not lost (even temporarily) their fitness to plead. IIt should happen when “the will is manifested unequivocally by the concerned person or, in case of his inability, even temporary, by a person previously named in a signed document authenticated by an officer of registry office of the municipality, as the trustee for the expression of nursing will.”
In particular, according to the draft, anyone will be able to write a document, with a notarized signature of an officer of the registry office of the municipality, to ask euthanasia if affected by a “disease that provokes serious suffering, is incurable or with a poor prognosis in less than eighteen months, when the concerned person unfit to plead, simultaneously appointing a trustee to confirm the request if the above mentioned circumstances occur.” Medical staff responsible for having authorized the interruption of treatment would no longer be punishable for murder (including that of a consenting person), incitement to suicide, or wrongful death. On the contrary, in case the patient’s will is not respected, they will risk civil and criminal penalties, in addition to the obligation to pay moral and material damages resulting from such conduct.
The committee received more drafts from Marisa Nicchi (Si) and Titti Di Salvo (DP), whose content is basically identical. They establish that doctors who practice “mercy killing” are not punishable if their decision complies with the conditions and the procedures specified in the law and, in particular, if “they made sure that: the assisted person is of age and fit to plead at the time of the request; the euthanasia request was made voluntarily, has been well weighted and repeated and is not the result of an external pressure; the patient is suffering from a disease with poor prognosis and is in the end-stage, with no prospect of survival, and their physical or mental suffering is constant and unbearable because of psycho-physical injury or a serious and incurable disease.”
The two draft propose that the consent to the interruption of medical treatment can be given for “people with severe and incurable disease and who are no longer fit to plead (and could not therefore make a valid euthanasia request), if they have signed the so-called forward declaration, within the five years immediately preceding the situation that makes it impossible for the conscious manifestation of their will.” They also propose to establish a National Commission which checks whether euthanasia was carried out according to the conditions and procedures.
Moreover, there is also a text signed by Eleanor Bechis, former M5S, currently a member of Free Alternative Is Possible, which, quite simply, gives every citizen the right to refuse “the beginning or continuation of medical treatment, as well as each type of vital or nutritional support therapy treatment. The doctor and medical staff must respect the patient’s wishes and cannot declare conscientious objection.”