ROME, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Italian lawmakers began discussing a draft law on end-of-life rights and biological will on Monday.
The move came just few weeks after the case of assisted suicide of a famous Italian DJ in Switzerland stirred a tense debate in the country.
Fabiano Antoniani -- or DJ Fabo, as he was known -- chose assisted dying in late February, after a car crash in 2014 had left him blind and tetraplegic. He was 39.
The man moved to a Swiss clinic for the procedure, accompanied by right-to-die activists, since euthanasia is illegal in Italy. The case highlighted the lack of legislation on end-of-life wills in Italy.
The draft law started to be examined by the Lower House assembly after being postponed three consecutive times since January. If passed by the Chamber of Deputies, it would move to the Senate for definitive approval.
If not amended, the bill would allow citizens to state before a public officer or a doctor their living wills on end-of-life treatments, including the right to accept or refuse care, nutrition, and artificial hydration.
Although similar to other legislations in force in northern European countries, the draft does not stretch as far as to recognize the right to euthanasia, namely the right of a person who is terminally ill, with no hope of improvement, and under great suffering, to ask for an assisted death.
The bill should find an easy path in the Lower House, where a large number of deputies from both majority and opposition forces seem ready to give their green light, according to Ansa news agency.
The approval in the senate would be less certain, for the cabinet's majority is thinner and the number of Catholic lawmakers opposing the draft -- also within the ruling Democratic Party -- higher, Ansa added.
In January, shortly before going to the Swiss Clinic, Italian DJ Fabo had appealed to Italian President Sergio Mattarella for his "right to die", and harshly criticized politicians for failing to act.
Although revived by this recent case, however, the end-of-life debate has troubled Italy for decades. In fact, the Italian law partially recognizes the patient's right to refuse care already, but also bears limits and holes, and this has led to several controversial cases.
One such case was that of Piergiorgio Welby, an Italian artist and activist affected by severe muscular dystrophy since youth, who strongly advocated the right to euthanasia for decades up to his death in 2006.
Another high-profile story was that of Eluana Englaro, a young woman left in a persistent vegetative state for 17 years after a car crash in 1992. Her father fought a decade-long legal dispute to have doctors halt her assisted feeding and hydration, for he claimed this would have been his daughter's wish. After several rejections, the court of Appeal in Milan finally accepted his request in July 2008, and the woman died in February 2009.