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  Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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Italian woman Eluana Englaro, whose case sparked a nationwide debate
Italian woman Eluana Englaro, whose case sparked a nationwide debate in Italy about the right to die, passed away late on Monday after 17 years in an irreversible coma, the ANSA news agency said.

Eluana Englaro, 38, had been in a vegetative state since a serious car accident in January 1992, when she was 19. Her father, Beppino Englaro, asked for the right to remove Eluana's feeding tube in 1999, sparking a nationwide debate about euthanasia. The Roman Catholic Church, which has significant influence in the country, strongly opposed letting Eluana die.

In mid-November last year Italy's Supreme Court ruled to remove the feeding tube of the woman. Last Friday, doctors suspended her artificial feeding and took her off life support.

Although euthanasia is illegal in Italy, a patient is entitled to refuse treatment, even if it leads to his or her death.

The debates on the right to die in Italy live on even after Eluana's death.

The parliament is expected to vote Wednesday on a draft law making it illegal not to give food and water to unconscious patients. An emergency decree that would have prevented the removal Eluana's feeding tube was approved by the Cabinet on Friday, but Italian President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign it.


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