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Italian Group to Campaign for Euthanasia

Dec 20, 2002
Reuters Health

Italian supporters of euthanasia have announced that they will launch a campaign in January in support of proposed legislation that would decriminalize euthanasia.

The proposed law would also offer the possibility for Italian patients to use advance directives, or "living wills." Called a "biological testaments" in Italy, these are legal documents that dictate patient treatment preferences in the event of incapacitating illness.

"We would need 50,000 signatures. Our goal is to collect them within 3 months," Giancarlo Fornari, president of the organisation Librerauscita, told reporters.

The initiative follows a heated debate over a survey by Milan's Universit Cattolica in which doctors admitted to have practised active and passive euthanasia.

The survey, which involved 225 doctors from 20 intensive care departments in Milan, showed that 3.6% of doctors admitted to have voluntary administered lethal drugs, while 15.8% found the initiative acceptable.

Almost 80% of doctors admitted to having practised passive euthanasia at least once.

The survey will be published shortly by the University's centre for bioethics.

© 2002 Reuters Ltd