Europe's Way of Death

NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP-GETTY IMAGES

DECISION PENDING: Debbie Wyatt goes to court to protect her brain-damaged baby Charlotte's life

The way Terri Schiavo's private tragedy has become a political issue in the U.S. estranges many people in Europe. But Europeans, too, have struggled to find the proper balance between the right to life and the right to die. In 1974, Dutch mother-to-be Ineke Stinissen fell into a deep coma after problems with the anesthetic administered during her caesarean section. A year later, her husband Gerard asked that her feeding tube be removed, seeing no hope of her regaining consciousness. Stinissen's doctors refused on ethical grounds. Amid impassioned public debate, Gerard fought for his wife's right to die until late 1989,...

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