John-Henry Westen


Council of Europe Rejects Euthanasia - Vatican Praises Move

John-Henry Westen

STRASBOURG, May 2, 2005 ( - On April 27th, during the plenary session in Strasbourg, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rejected a draft resolution on “assistance to patients at the end of life”, a report submitted by Dick Marty (Switzerland, LDR). Euro-fam, a pro-life group which monitors the European Parliament reports that at the end of a long debate, parliamentarians voted on 71 amendments. Once amended, the text was overwhelmingly rejected by the Assembly. 138 voted against, 26 in favour and 5 abstained.

During the debate preceding the vote, several members also warned that any attempt to legislate euthanasia would lead to serious consequences. For example, recent reports show that the rate of euthanasia cases is escalating in countries where it was legalized. Today, euthanasia kills one person a day in Belgium and five persons a day in Netherlands. In both countries, the numbers are on the rise. The Netherlands even have a law that allows children aged between 12 and 17 years old to be ‘euthanasied’ on request.

The Vatican’s Bishop Elio Sgreccia, commented on the vote on Vatican Radio saying, ““It has been a positive sign. It means that there are still forces in Europe that respect and want the life of the seriously ill patient respected, in the final stage.”

Bishop Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, warned however that “We must expect that pressure in favor of euthanasia will attack again with similar proposals, given that, in Europe, some countries have approved euthanasia.” Indeed, Marty expressed his hope that the issue would come before the council again.

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