The Italian legislator’s silence on physician-assisted suicide: legal and bioethical implications

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Rosagemma Ciliberti
Nicola Bragazzi
Anna Siri
Paolo Petralia
Alessandro Bonsignore


bioethics, end of life, Italian Legislation, physician-assisted suicide, assisted dying, palliative care, euthanasia, self-determination, anthropological perspectives


The issue of the end of life and, in particular, those of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are certainly the most controversial ethical, medical and law issues with well-known news judicial cases.  Within the international context, the authors analyze the ethical and legal debate in the Italian system in light of the recent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court amending article 580 of the Criminal Code, allowing the physician-assisted suicide under certain conditions. Legal background information on the right to die is described and discussed. The rapid succession of judicial cases on the end of life underlines the urgency of a discipline capable of providing adequate references to social issues and duly considering possible interference or abuse. Further legislative efforts are needed by the Italian Parliament and the Professional College of Physicians for the concrete activation and effective functioning of the Italian Council's decision.

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