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Italian pols back off right-to-die dispute

Dec. 23, 2008 at 12:18 PM

STRASBOURG, France, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Italian officials say they are taking a hands-off approach after a European court rejected efforts to block a father's efforts to let his comatose daughter die.

Italy's ANSA news agency Tuesday said Beppino Englaro has been unable to find a clinic that will facilitate the death of his daughter, Eluana, who has been in a coma for 17 years.

"Personally I hope that the woman continues to live, but I can't interfere with the decisions of her father,'' said Edouard Ballaman, president of the regional council of the Northern League.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg Monday rejected an appeal by pro-life organizations trying to block Englaro's efforts on the grounds that only immediate family could be involved in the decision.

ANSA said Italy's health minister warned clinics last week not to take part in the removal of the woman's feeding tube.

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