European assembly slams euthanasia

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has given a big boost to opponents of legalised euthanasia. This body, which (somewhat confusingly) is not part of the European Union, is an advisory body in Strasbourg with more than 300 delegates whose pronouncements on human rights are highly influential in the EU.

This week PACE passed a resolution on living wills (or advance directives) which  states as a fundamental principal: “Euthanasia, in the sense of the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit, must always be prohibited.”

Furthermore, an amendment was passed stating that “surrogate decisions that rely on general value judgements present in society should not be admissible and, in case of doubt, the decision must always be pro-life and the prolongation of life”.

The resolution is not legally binding on members of the EU, but it may put hamper efforts of euthanasia campaigners to pass legislation like the Netherlands and Belgium. The Italian delegate who proposed the amendment was jubilant: “last year we have obtained a great victory reaffirming the right of medical practitioners to conscientious objection; today we have also fought a good battle and we have won, thanks God, against a real ideological tyranny of culture of death…  now euthanasia is completely banned from PACE”. ~ European Dignity Watch, Jan 26

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