The Italian government has been plunged into a constitutional crisis over the fate of a 38-year-old woman who has been in a coma for the past 17 years. Eluana Englaro was left in a vegetative state after a car crash in 1992. After a decade-long court battle, doctors reduced her nutrition on Friday in preparation for removing her feeding tubes, which her father claims would be in accordance with her wishes.
But in an extraordinary turn of events, the country's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, after consultation with the Vatican, has issued an emergency decree stating that food and water cannot be suspended for any patient depending upon them, reversing the earlier court ruling. On issuing the emergency decree, Berlusconi declared: "This is murder. I would be failing to rescue her. I'm not a Pontius Pilate."
Justifying his campaign to save Englaro's life, the prime minister added that, physically at least, she was "in the condition to have babies", a remark described by La Stampa newspaper as "shocking".
Emphasis by me. So she is in the condition to have babies, Silvio? Who's gonna impregnate her? Some rapist? Because she can't consent, you know. Or were you planning to use her as some kind of a surrogate mother?
This truly is sick, not only because of these questions but because I really didn't want to get a glimpse of the dirty underwear in Mr. Berlusconi's soul. He seems to think that women are baby-making machines, good to go even when in a coma. Gah.
Then there's the Vatican angle to the whole thing... Gah squared.