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Italy high court approves feeding tube removal

[JURIST] The Italian Court of Cassation [official website, in Italian], the country's highest court, ruled Thursday that the father of Eluana Englaro [materials, in Italian], who has been in a vegetative state for 16 years, can remove her feeding tube. Last month, Italy's Constitutional Court [official website, in Italian] rejected [JURIST report; decision text, in Italian] a parliamentary challenge to a Milan appeals court decision holding that doctors could remove Englaro's feeding tube because she was found to be in an 'irreversible' vegetative state. Catholic groups and conservative politicians opposing Thursday's decision argued [Independent report] that the court is permitting euthanasia [JURIST news archive], which remains illegal in Italy [JURIST report]. AP has more. Corriere della Sera has local coverage, in Italian.

Eluana Englaro has been in a coma since an automobile accident in 1992. Her father, Beppino Englaro, has been fighting to have her feeding tube removed since 1999. In 2005, Italy's Constitutional Court upheld [JURIST report] a lower court's ruling to keep her feeding tube in place because they could not find specific evidence on Englar's personal views of life and death. The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies [official website, in French] last February narrowly passed [JURIST report] a bill legalizing euthanasia [text, PDF, in French], a move that could make Luxembourg the third EU country to allow the controversial practice. The Netherlands [BBC report] legalized euthanasia in 2001, and Belgium [JURIST report] followed suit in 2002.

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