euthanasia bill moves forward (May
with dignity' bill gets broad panel approval (March
euthanasia bill moves forward
JERUSALEM POST (May 22, 2001)
right of terminally ill people to request passive euthanasia took a further
step toward legalization yesterday, when the Knesset Law Committee approved
a revised version of legislation on the matter for a first reading.
chairman Ophir Pines-Paz (One Israel) said he would move the legislation forward
for its second and final readings before the Knesset concludes its summer
session at the end of July.
Haredi MKs wanted to delay the vote, although they have agreed in principle
to the legislation. The Health Ministry also opposed the advancement of the
bill, since it wanted to wait for public committee established to make recommendations
on allowing euthanasia to conclude its discussions.
Director-General Boaz Lev asked for a four-month delay. Rabbi Mordechai Halperin,
a ministry official who sits on the public committee, said the definition
of terminally ill in the legislation is too vague.
Pines said the issue has already been discussed for months in his committee,
which should make a move on a matter that often comes before the courts. He
said he was sure the public committee will speed up its deliberations as a
result of sending the legislation for a first reading. He promised to consider
more changes in the bill before the second and third readings.
(Israeli daily) March 22, 2001 edition
with dignity' bill gets broad panel approval
Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee yesterday approved a bill
enabling anyone over the age of 18 to sign a statement instructing physicians
not to extend their lives by artificial means if they stand no chance of recovery.
bill, pushed by Meretz MK Anat Maor and Labor MK Avi Yehezkel, actually amends
the criminal law by determining that a physician will not be liable for prosecution
if he or she denies medical treatment in the form of artificial life support,
mechanical breathing, dialysis, chemotherapy, radiation or transfusions to
terminally ill patients who have signed the statement.
bill, on this, its first committee reading, won support from a wide spectrum
of MKs, including ultra-Orthodox legislators, who congratulated the former
chairman of the committee, Meretz MK Amnon Rubinstein, for working out a draft
that did not violate halakha.
new law creates a simple form that can be signed by anyone over the age >
of 18, and is renewable every five years. The form states: "In case I am not
able to take an active, conscious part in decisions regarding medical treatment
to be given me, and on condition that two doctors, independent of one another
reach the conclusion that I am terminally ill, I wish that my life not be
extended in any way and that I not be given various forms of treatment. I
should receive only the necessary treatment to protect my comfort and dignity,
and to prevent any pain that any reasonable person would not be able to bear."
A patient can cancel the signed statement orally, at any point, according
to the law.
law passed the committee unanimously. Shas MK David Tal said he believes that
if the law is understood by the ultra-Orthodox community, it will be supported.
committee's legal advisor, retired Judge Shlomo Shoham, worked hard to obtain
a unanimous vote, emphasizing that the law works by protecting the doctor,
rather than by protecting the patient's right to die.
praised the fact that both secular and religious legislators supported the
law. "We are now enabling people who have lost their dignity to choose whether
to live longer.