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Today in legal history...

Monday, February 06, 2012

Italian president blocked measure to stop euthanasia of comatose woman
Cynthia Miley at 12:00 AM ET

On February 6, 2009, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign a governmental decree intended to stop the removal of Eluana Englaro's feeding tube. Englaro had been in a coma since an automobile accident in 1992, and her father, Beppino Englaro, had been fighting to have her feeding tube removed since 1999. Napolitano said the decree was unconstitutional because it would effectively overrule the previous year's decision by the country's Court of Cassation to allow removal of the tube and violate separation of powers. Although Italy's Constitutional Court upheld a lower court's ruling to keep her feeding tube in place in April 2005, the Constitutional Court ultimately rejected a parliamentary challenge to an appellate court decision that held that doctors could remove Enlargo's feeding tube because she was found to be in an "irreversible" vegetative state. Enlargo died on February 9, 2009.

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Learn more about euthanasia from the JURIST news archive, and read commentary on the issue from JURIST Guest Columnists Derek Humphry and Ken Connor in Hotline.

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