‘Living Wills’ Should Foster a Patient’s Will to Live
In late 2017 Italy’s Senate approved, in a 180-71 vote, legislation permitting patient-created Advance Directives. The law endorses a form of Advance Directives so permissive that Italians won’t simply be able to outline their health care wishes prior to possible incapacity, but in fact will be able to hasten their own deaths. Tragically, this appears to be intentional on the part of legislators — some actively endorsing such a lamentable vision for Italian health care, and others presumably “going along” for reasons of expediency.
Marco Cappato, a prominent member of Italy’s Radical Party and so-called “right to die” activist, was among those cheering Italy’s Advance Directives law explicitly for the logic that it has introduced into his country, which is that vulnerable patients may now actively bring about their own death by denial of basic care. Specifically, the law makes it possible for Italians who are not actively dying to refuse food and water. Further, such patients may impose their will to do so on potentially unwilling physicians who will enjoy no conscientious objection rights. In remarks to the Associated Press, Cappato plainly shared his next legislative priority: “[W]e are still missing the legalization of euthanasia that we’ll propose to the next parliament.”