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In favor of death for Eluana February 9, 2009

Posted by dorigo in news, personal, politics, religion.
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The case of Eluana Englaro, a woman in irreversible coma since 1992, is causing an institutional conflict in Italy, as well as a pitiful example of “insolence of office”.

The story is long, and if you have not followed it on the newspapers, it is hard for me to summarize its salient points. However, here is a speed attempt.

A jury has decreed that the father has the right to ask for a stop of the forced nutrition, thereby allowing Eluana to die as was her wish in case of such an infermity. The vatican screamed of homicide, and the minister of health tried to stop the transfer of the body to a clinic where the procedure could be implemented, getting to the point of publically threatening the clinics officials. Then, a suitable place was found in Udine, and Eluana was transferred there. In a crescendo of drama, while the stoppage of nutrition and hydratation of the poor body was getting started, the italian government rushed to try a urgent decree which would prohibit such a procedure. The decree, to be executive, had to go through a signature of the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano; but Napolitano had already expressed his negative opinion on such a unmotivated urgency in a matter -the rights of a person to refuse to be cured- which would have required much analysis.

Today we are assisting at several other attempts at “saving the life” of Eluana by the italian government, which is nothing than an execution of Vatican orders: a full-fledged law is being rushed through the Senate (it is just the decree rejected by Napolitano, so one wonders what difference it could make); the Police force is threatening to take possession of the rooms where Eluana is resting in the clinic, claiming that the site is non-compliant to specifications; judges are investigating on the clinic itself. In the meantime, stand-offs of pro-life and pro-choice activists take place in front of the clinic. On the right, pro-choice activists; below, pro-life activists.

I am thoroughly disgusted at the sight of a State that cannot life a life independently of its religious appendage. But disgust is not the end of the story: I am also quite alarmed by the reactionary moves of the Berlusconi government, which shows for the umpteenth time to not care for the democratic rules and the constitution, whose predicaments their decree was neglecting. Berlusconi is ignoring Napolitano’s pledge for a pacate, unrushed discussion on a law for the “biologic legacy”, which should govern the rights of citizens in matters concerning the end of life, forced cure, and related topics. By forcing a law on such matters through the parliament, Berlusconi aims at exacerbating the conflict with the head of the State, in order to create the conditions for a change of the italian Constitution, which would allow him to take Napolitano’s seat with greatly increased powers.

In the meantime, Eluana is finally dying, as she would have wanted to do 17 years ago. However, while this is happening we are assisting at pro-life fanatics claiming that the family does not really know the real intentions of their daughter, in a desperate attempt to “save her life”. Let me be clear on one thing here: if for accident or illness I fall in a persistent vegetative condition, it is my will that my life be terminated, by whatever means are found appropriate. It is my will that no forced feeding and hydratation be continued without aim if there are no reasonable chances to ever return me to a conscious state. And, being a scientist, by “reasonable” I mean 5%, not one in a million!

UPDATE: Eluana died one hour ago. Would you guess this made people silent ? Nope.  Accusations of homicide flew around in the italian Senate, catholic personalities felt the urge to express their feelings, the government claims they will bring forward their law “such that Eluana’s sacrifice has not been vain”. The disgust continues. I think it will last four more years.

UPDATE: a few links in English on the matter:


1. Rigigi - February 9, 2009

well said, dear fellow

2. Anonymous - February 9, 2009

The insolence of this woman to die when she didn’t even have the right to do so! My goodness, some people…

3. Fred Altieri - February 9, 2009

Well, she finally crossed the goal line today. Bless her in spite of those who sought to capitalize on her once grave condition for the benefit of the church, its proponents and their inhumane considerations.

4. alfredo de la vega - February 10, 2009

there’s no neglected things happen in this world…the efforts of keeping Eluana alive, was the bless for everybody who loves her for this last 17 years…

5. Andrea Giammanco - February 10, 2009

> I think it will last four more years.

Why four?
Do you think that it is related to the composition of the current government? I am not so optimist.

dorigo - February 10, 2009

Well, Andrea – I know the center-left coalition fosters doubts on the matter too. However, they would never have done what we have seen the Berlusconi government doing these days. What disgusts me most is the idea that the State actively fights the right of the individual, getting to the point of ad-personam lawmaking.


6. Luboš Motl - February 10, 2009

Congratulations to your efficient and speedy contribution to a murder. I am sure you must be proud about it.

dorigo - February 10, 2009

Oh, shut up Lubos. You aren’t fooling anybody – I am sure you are pro-choice as much as you are pro-bullshit.

cheers, T.

7. Luboš Motl - February 10, 2009

I am no fundamentalist but I surely think that both euthanasia and abortion are bad things, forms of a partial murder, and I’ve done a lot in my life to prevent such things in my environment.

The woman said what she said because she didn’t want to become a liability for her relatives etc. She certainly didn’t ask for “activity” of murderous far-left attack dogs who would guarantee that she dies as soon as they write a disgusting blog posting about it.

It’s completely legitimate for a person to end her life or tell others that she doesn’t want to live under certain circumstances. On the other hand, the doctor who physically ends her life is violating his professional pledge, and other people who actively root for such things participate in a murder, whatever her wishes are.

The case of abortion is analogous.

There can be other arguments on the other side but in their absence, or in the case when they’re marginal, euthanasia or abortion are things that simply shouldn’t happen.

8. dorigo - February 10, 2009

…And how about euthanasia for Al Gore? You suggested he should be terminated in a comment yesterday…

9. Luboš Motl - February 10, 2009

As I said, there can be other arguments on the other side, supporting the euthanasia. But you won’t find such powerful arguments in the case of Eluana.

10. N - February 11, 2009

Eluana died 17 years ago.

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