Monday, December 23, 2019

Italian Assisted suicide activist acquitted in death of disabled man.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Reuters news reported that a Milan court acquitted Italian assisted suicide activist, Marco Cappato, today in the assisted suicide death of Fabiano Antoniani (known as DJ Fabo), in February 2017.

This decision is sad but not surprising considering Italy's constitutional court decision in September 2019, that opened the door to assisted suicide.

The outcome of the constitutional court decision is not clear. According to the Guardian, the court decided that:
Anyone who “facilitates the suicidal intention … of a patient kept alive by life-support treatments and suffering from an irreversible pathology” should not be punished under certain conditions, the top court ruled.
This statement appears to limit the extent of the decision to people being kept alive on life-support. Further reading suggests that the decision is much wider. The Guardian article stated:
The court said that a patient’s condition must be “causing physical and psychological suffering that he or she considers intolerable”.

Following approval of the decision by a local ethical committee, public health authorities should verify all conditions are met.
Since the court used the language “causing physical and psychological suffering that he or she considers intolerable” it may have opened assisted suicide to a much wider group of people.

The statement is completely subjective, hard to define and nearly impossible to regulate.

Based on Antoniani's injuries and the language of the court decision, the Italian constitutional court seems to have opened the door to assisted suicide based on killing people with disabilities.

I fear that the language of the decision may lead to wide open assisted suicide.

Reuters reported that Cappato faces another trial in February over a similar case to that of Antoniani, in which he assisted a 53-year-old living with motor neurone disease to die in a Swiss clinic.

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