Move Afoot to Block Euthanasia

Initiative of Dutch Member of European Parliament

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STRASBOURG, France, FEB. 15, 2001 ( Signatures are being collected among European Parliament members to present a draft resolution warning against laws that permit active euthanasia.

The initiative, promoted by Dutch Europarliamentarian Maria Martens, of the European Popular Party, was presented Wednesday in Strasbourg, during a meeting attended by leaders of different political leanings.

Once the signatures are collected, Martens hopes to present the draft resolution next month for debate and voting.

The draft document calls on the European Parliament to express its grave concern over the laws of active euthanasia, which are being debated in some European Union countries. It also calls for pressure on national parliamentarians and governments to consider other ways to respond to the suffering of terminally ill patients, without harming the fundamental right to dignity of human life.

Quoting the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties, the document warns of the «possible consequences, in some states, of the new laws on active euthanasia, on socially vulnerable persons.»

To date, the Netherlands is the only country in the world which has moved to legalize euthanasia.

Likewise, the draft resolution emphasizes that the best way to protect human beings is not to allow them to do away with themselves, but to offer «adequate care,» which implies medication that helps bear the pain.

The proposal also requests European Union states to be determined «in the realm of national health systems, to improve the formation of medical personnel in the area of pain therapy, and increase funding for pain therapy and other appropriate therapies for terminally ill patients and the dying.»

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