Luxembourg Votes Thursday on Stripping Monarch of Power Over Euthanasia
by Steven Ertelt
December 10, 2008
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (LifeNews.com) — Members of the parliament of this tiny European nation will vote on Thursday on a motion to strip the powers of Grand Duke Henri for failing to sign a bill it approved legalizing euthanasia. In February, the parliament initially approved a bill to make the country the third to allow the practice.
Lawmakers approved allowing doctors to help patients kill themselves without facing any legal consequences.
The measure is due to have a final reading and vote later this month, but the Grand Duke, who holds executive power similar to a president and must sign off on bills for them to become law, opposes it and will not sign it into law.
Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker is putting a motion before the 60-member body that makes it so Henri can’t approve legislation but leaving him with the power to announce that a bill has become law.
Junker tells the Associated Press that Henri, who is Catholic, is apparently not upset by the decision to revoke his powers. However, members of his Christian Democratic party, which has long held the ruling government status, worry about a citizen-initiated referendum if they remove Henri’s powers.
That could be done by Catholic citizens upset by parliament’s approval of the euthanasia bill and supportive of Henri.
Meanwhile, Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, the president of Human Life International, tells LifeNews.com he strongly supports Henri for refusing to sign the bill.
Euteneuer expressed his appreciation in a letter faxed to the Grand Duke on Monday.
Euteneuer’s letter said, in part, "Please accept on behalf of all the associated member organizations of Human Life International in eighty countries our greatest admiration for your courage in refusing to sign the legislation legalizing euthanasia in Luxembourg."
"Your well-formed Catholic conscience is a precious gift that honors the Royal Family of Luxembourg, as one of the greatest responsibilities of the monarchy is the duty to resist demagoguery and all attacks on public morality," the Catholic pro-life advocate added.
"You have our deepest admiration and support in this battle to respect life. Thank you for the magnificent example that you have given to all the heads of state in this difficult period of history," Euteneuer concluded.
Juncker is a member of the Christian Social Party, which generally opposed the bill, but he said he expected a debate on the Grand Duke’s power along with the final vote on the euthanasia bill.
Just 30 of the 59 members of the nation’s parliament approved the euthanasia bill back in February. Nearly all of the members of Juncker’s Social Christian Party voted against it.
Catholic leaders are continuing a lobbying campaign with the hopes of defeating it on the final reading and they are joined by medical and physicians groups.
Under the bill, patients can request help in dying in a living will or advance directive and doctors must get a second opinion that patients are in a "grave and incurable condition" before killing them.
The measure also creates a national commission that will evaluate every case to ensure the law and its guidelines are followed when patients are killed.
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