It’s time for a debate about the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia, says the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano. He was responding to an open letter from a 60-year-old man paralysed by muscular dystrophy, Piergiorgio Welby, who says that he should be entitled to end “a cruelly biological survival”. Napolitano declared that he had been “deeply moved and touched” and that he wanted Italian parliamentarians to debate the issue.
In Catholic Italy, many law makers are staunch opponents of the proposal, which was also hammered by the Vatican as “murder”. The Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, has not commented, but his predecessor, now the leader of the opposition, Silvio Berlusconi, said that a national debate would be divisive and unproductive.
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