In the Chamber of Deputies, the right-wing attack against the bill on medically assisted suicide was foiled. With 262 votes against and 126 in favor, expressed by secret ballot, as requested by Fratelli d’Italia, with the government that refrained from giving any opinion and deferred to the Chamber, the killer amendments that were meant to suppress Article 1 of the text, the one on its “purpose,” which together with Article 3 is the heart of the law, failed. They were intended to render the entire bill void.
It was an attempt to seize on the negative wave that has been raised in recent weeks against the legalization of “sweet death,” which began with the words of Pope Francis and ended with the verdict of the Constitutional Court on the murder of a consenting person.
Accordingly, the arrival of the bill on the Chamber floor, on Thursday at the end of the session, with a discussion that lasted just half an hour and only one round of voting, was an attempt to strike while the iron was hot. However, the massive presence in the Chamber of the deputies of the PD (90.5%), LeU (90.9%), M5S (80%), IV (79.3%) and the Mixed group (37.3%) made it possible to thwart the organized attack from FdI (attendance at 64.9%), Lega (42.9%), Forza Italia (37.5%) and Coraggio Italia (47.6%), the same parties that voted in the Justice and Social Affairs committees against the text on the “Provisions on medically assisted voluntary death.” The discussion and vote on the other 200 amendments will resume next week, Wednesday, February 23.
The two identical amendments rejected Thursday night, with the first signatories being Alessandro Pagano of the Lega and Pierantonio Zanettin of Forza Italia, were meant to delete Article 1, the one that introduced the regulation of “the right of a person affected by an irreversible disease with inauspicious prognosis or an irreversible clinical condition to request medical assistance, in order to voluntarily and independently end their own life, under the conditions, within the limits and with the presuppositions provided by this law and in accordance with the principles of the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.”
One must bear in mind that the unified text that emerged from the committees was already a pared-down mediation that the rapporteurs Alfredo Bazoli of the PD and Nicola Provenza of the M5S had to agree on with the center-right to try to bring into reality the law required by the Constitutional Court in 2019 with its Cappato/Dj Fabo ruling.
“Actually, in committee, a good climate had been created by the end, but now this has changed a bit,” Nicola Provenza told il manifesto. “But Parliament has the responsibility to regulate this at all costs, the Constitutional Court tells us so, and so does the large amount of signatures collected for the referendum on legal euthanasia. And above all, we must do it to avoid abuses, in the absence of a law, as President Amato has also suggested.”
PD secretary Enrico Letta asked that the process should be expedited: “It fills the regulatory vacuum that is generating so many dramatic situations.”