Italy’s health minister announced on television that 37-year-old Eluana Englaro died on Monday evening. Italian Senators had been debating emergency legislation to prevent doctors from withdrawing life support for Englaro, who was in a coma for the last 17 years.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi introduced the legislation in a last-ditch bid to circumvent a court ruling, which cleared the way for doctors to discontinue feeding Englaro last Friday. Englaro’s family fought to let her die for the past 10 years.
Her father says she would not have wished to continue living in a vegetative condition. The case divided Italy and prompted Berlusconi’s government and the Church to push to keep Eluana Englaro alive.
The questions of everyone’s right to die challenges all of us to decide what we want for ourselves and others. Below is my 2005 Philadelphia City Paper commentary, reprinted in various versions in Metro NE and other publications. Difficult as it is, expresses my view.