Passive euthanasia bill moves forward
THE JERUSALEM POST (May 22, 2001)
The 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.
Committee 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.
Ministry 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.
However, 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.