Italian Prime Minister Seeks to Stop Starvation of Handicapped Woman with Emergency Legislation

Says he will even seek a constitutional amendment if necessary
Sat Feb 7, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

ROME, February 7, 2009 ( - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has sent a bill to the nation’s Senate authorizing the government to prevent a handicapped woman from being dehydrated and starved to death by her father.

Seeking to bypass Italy’s communist president, who refused to sign an emergency bill with the same text, Berlusconi hopes to have his bill approved by the nation’s legislature within three days, enough time to save Eluana Englaro’s life.  Berlusconi’s party has a strong majority in the Italian Parliament.

"If the possibility did not exist to use decrees, I would go to the people to request a change in the Constitution and the Government," Berlusconi reportedly said in a press conference yesterday.

Englaro, 38, is currently being deprived of food and water at the La Quiete clinic in Udine, Italy, in order to kill her.  She was transported to the clinic Tuesday by her father, who has received a verdict from Italy’s highest appeals court authorizing him to end his daughter’s life in response to his claim that she would not want to live in a "vegetative state".

Englaro has been in a state of diminished consciousness since 1992, when she suffered an automobile accident. She breathes on her own but must be fed through a tube.

The public prosecutor of Udine is reportedly investigating the situation after receiving criminal complaints regarding the dehydration and starvation of Englaro.  He says that he will investigate the claims made by family and friends that Englaro would not want to live in a "vegetative state."

The decision to permit the dehydration and starvation of Englaro has generated outrage in Italy, where killing patients has historically been prohibited by law. Groups protesting the decision have included the Vatican, various religious organizations, and over 700 doctors who have signed a petition.

Contact Information:

La Quiete Clinic
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: Barbara Duriavig, tel. 0432-8862216, 0432-8862214
Fax: 0432-26460

Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Italy’s Communist President Refuses to Sign Passed Temporary Measure to Save Eluana Englaro

Keep this news available to you and millions more

Your gift will spread truth, defeat lies, and save lives

Share this article