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For a just law on assisted suicide – Chiara Lalli

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For a just law on assisted suicide – Chiara Lalli

Two and a half years have passed since the sentence of the constitutional court 242. The judges, called to respond to the judgment of constitutional legitimacy of article 580 of the penal code, have decided that assisting suicide is legitimate in some circumstances and have invited the parliament to legislate.

The conditions in which it is lawful to help someone die – as Marco Cappato did with Fabiano Antoniani (known as DJ Fabo) in 2017, accompanying him to Switzerland and denouncing himself on his return to Italy – are: the ability to “make free and conscious decisions “Of the person asking to be helped to die, the presence of an” irreversible pathology, a source of physical or psychological suffering that she considers intolerable “and of a” life support “treatment, the verification of a public structure of the conditions and implementing rules after the opinion of the competent ethics committee.

On June 16 Federico Carboni was the first to access voluntary death in Italy. It was not easy and it took three warnings, the complaint for the crime of torture and omission of official acts, a thousand insistence and a thousand difficulties.

And here we come to the law and the absence of the state, because a law should have corrected and improved that sentence of two and a half years ago (or legislated earlier, because it is not the first time that parliament has been asked to intervene).

It should have corrected by eliminating the requirement of life support, at least understood in a restrictive sense, that is, as a machine. Because? Because many cancer patients (but not only) do not have respirators to detach or other vital supports, but they should be able to choose if and when to die. Otherwise there would be a terrible injustice and discrimination between the sick.
It should have improved by indicating the times within which to verify the conditions and methods. Because it can’t take months or years to get what is a right.

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It should or should: because there is still a law under discussion, even if the times are very tight and the text (now bogged down) is wrong and unfair because it does not correct or improve the sentence 242, quite the contrary.
A wrong and unjust law is worse than any law. A wrong and unjust law is worse than a sentence that could be corrected and improved, but which in any case has already given an answer. And that answer strengthens people’s freedom.

Today it is already possible, as Carboni did, to ask to die and perhaps thanks to him in the future it will not take all this time and there will not be all these difficulties. What a law absolutely must not do is add complications, add bureaucracy and excuses to restrict a freedom that affects our life and no one else. Yet after Carboni’s decision many have clamored for a law, no matter what law, otherwise it is the Far West and in any case palliative care and deep sedation are better.

Freedom is a form, a fence in which everyone should put what they want

Evoking the far west is a great classic. It was also evoked when discussing another horrible norm, that on reproductive techniques, to demonstrate that it is better to have any law of absolute anarchy (anarchy did not exist then and would not exist now). It did not end well: after the approval of Law 40 on assisted reproduction, one of the most senseless and coercive laws in the world, the courts and the courts have torn it to pieces. Little is left of what it used to be, but the costs have been very high.

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The far west has also often been invoked with respect to the law on voluntary death, the last time a few days ago by the newspaper The Truth: the “cowboy” Cappato would have ridden “in the Oklahoma prairies like the farmers in the Far west”. And then, of course, better “a late and wrong law” than the “private business of casual death”. How applying the indications of a court ruling can be private business is not easy to understand, but the deception is always the same: disasters and abuses are described to justify an unjust rule. Who knows if they are really convinced or if it is an election campaign. Is it possible that we have not learned anything? Filomena Gallo, secretary of the Luca Coscioni Association and coordinator of the Carboni legal college, reminds the legislator of her responsibilities and invites him to write a law that truly guarantees people’s freedom to choose. Otherwise the only alternative will be the courts.

The other classic expedient is the unsolicited advice of palliative care and deep sedation as equivalent to death. We remind you that the premise and the necessary condition are always the free decision of the person concerned. Freedom is a form, a fence in which everyone should put what he wants. With the same clinical conditions, we will choose differently. This is the reason why it does not even make sense to list the protests of those who say “but I have the same pathology and I do not want to die”: no one forces you and the same disease does not involve the same decision.

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So all these possibilities should be guaranteed: palliative care, sedation, voluntary death. Because they all fall within freedom. But they are not equivalent. They are different choices and it would be hypocritical to try to trade one for the other.

This article appeared in number 33 of the Essential, on page 4.

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