February 8, 2009

Hold on, she can still have babies, this is murder!

I'll admit, if I barely know shit about American politics I know next to nothing about Italian politics (other than they actually seem to have a lot of issues that very much mirror our own in a sort of Bizarro way). But there's this case I've been following about an Italian woman--Eluana Englaro--who's been in a coma for about 17 years after she was in a car accident. Now her family is trying to fight for her right to die peacefully as, according to her doctors, the coma is irreversible.

17 years in a vegetative state. 17 years watching your daughter lay there and show no signs of ever waking up again. The woman is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Keep that in mind because it's about to become key when you read what this article says:

Italy faces constitutional crisis over coma woman

The Italian government has been plunged into a constitutional crisis over the fate of a 38-year-old woman who has been in a coma for the past 17 years. Eluana Englaro was left in a vegetative state after a car crash in 1992. After a decade-long court battle, doctors reduced her nutrition on Friday in preparation for removing her feeding tubes, which her father claims would be in accordance with her wishes.

But in an extraordinary turn of events, the country's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, after consultation with the Vatican, has issued an emergency decree stating that food and water cannot be suspended for any patient depending upon them, reversing the earlier court ruling. On issuing the emergency decree, Berlusconi declared: "This is murder. I would be failing to rescue her. I'm not a Pontius Pilate."

Wait, hold on, I haven't gotten to the creepiest part yet:

Justifying his campaign to save Englaro's life, the prime minister added that, physically at least, she was "in the condition to have babies", a remark described by La Stampa newspaper as "shocking". Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's president, has refused to sign the decree, but if it is ratified by the Italian parliament doctors may be obliged to resume the feeding of Eluana early this week.

You are fucking kidding me.

This woman in a coma is able to have babies. Just what the fuck does that have to do with anything considering she's been in a COMA for 17 years? Signore, just what the fuck are you implying?

Everything is wrong with this. This is sick. First off, good job comparing yourself to Pontius Pilate--so I guess she's somehow your "Jesus"? Your Virgin Mary? Also, consulting the Vatican? They have no impact on this woman's life. Even if she were Catholic, dude, they have no bearing on her family's decision to let the Englaro die. It is not your right to come to her family and say they can't let their daughter have her dignity and die peacefully. You have no right to keep this woman hooked up in a hospital for, what, another 17 years? And for what? She isn't coming back, her family has realized this, and they are willing to let her go. I suggest Berlusconi does the same. Sir, it is not up to you, the decision had already been MADE.

A little more:

The case has deeply divided Italian society and raised concerns over the influence of the Vatican. Yesterday Pope Benedict indirectly referred to Englaro in a message delivered to mark the World Day of the Sick, stating that society had a duty to defend "the absolute and supreme dignity of every human being" even when "weak and shrouded in the mystery of suffering". But even some of Berlusconi's political allies, including the president of the lower house of parliament, Gianfranco Fini, have stated that the supreme court ruling should be obeyed and Englaro should be allowed to die.

Meanwhile, doctors are continuing to act according to the original supreme court ruling. On Friday morning in the La Quiete clinic in Udine, northern Italy, they began reducing the amount of food in Eluana Englaro's feeding tube, according to a precise medical protocol that will see nutrition gradually replaced with sedative and anti-convulsant medication. Experts say that within four to five days her condition may have deteriorated to an irreversible extent, though it might be two weeks or more before her heart stops. The process means the Englaro family and their doctors are now in a race against time as they try to end Eluana's life before the Berlusconi government and its backers in the Vatican halt the process.

This is just...sick. In a "race" to give this woman her final--or at least her family's final--wishes. It's true that people do come out of comas in months, years, decades...but this is what her family wants. They just want their daughter to go off peacefully. What is wrong with this? How is this a "crime against humanity" I ask you? Wouldn't it be more humane to end her suffering? Just because she can still have children--physically--but is not MENTALLY capable is that all that's required for life? That...is sick.

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