'Italy's Terri Schiavo' Dies

Lawmakers were debating PM's bill against euthanasia when news broke
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2009 5:49 PM CST
Beppino Englaro, father of Eluana Englaro, in 2007.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A woman who sparked debate over right-to-die laws in Italy has died after 17 years in a coma, the Times of London reports. Italian lawmakers, led by PM Silvio Berlusconi, were debating an emergency bill to keep Eluana Englaro alive at the time. The law would forbid carers of those "unable to take care of themselves" to stop artificial feeding.

Berlusconi expressed “deep pain and regret” over Englaro’s death, and said most Italians felt the same, despite polls showing them evenly divided on the issue. A Vatican official supported him, saying, “May the Lord forgive them. I will continue to regard her death as a crime.” Eluana Englaro died 4 days after doctors, acting on her father’s wishes, removed her feeding apparatus.