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Louisiana legislature passes bill strengthening euthanasia ban

The Louisiana State Senate [official website] on Monday unanimously passed [roll call] a bill [HB 1086, PDF; materials] strengthening Louisiana's ban on euthanasia and assisted suicide [JURIST news archives]. Both practices were already prohibited under other laws in Louisiana. The new bill amends the state's medical consent law, stating: "A. Nothing in this Part shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve assistance to suicide, mercy killing, or euthanasia; or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying." The bill was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives last week and will now proceed to the governor's office where he is expected to sign it into law.

The right to die [JURIST news archive] has been a contentious issue in the US and around the world. Earlier this month, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal [official website] signed [JURIST report] a piece of legislation banning assisted suicide in the state. In 2011, an India high court ruled passive euthanasia was permitted [JURIST report] under certain circumstances, but rejected a petition for a mercy killing. In 2010, a German court ruled that removing a patient from life support is not a criminal offense [JURIST report] if the patient had previously given consent. In 2009, the Italian president refused to sign a government decree [JURIST report] that would stop the euthanasia of comatose women because it would violate the separation of power overturning a previous court ruling.

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