On March 18, 2017, the Association for the Right to Die in Dignity published its latest survey, carried out by the IFOP institute. The association thus proclaimed that: “95% of French citizens are in favor of euthanasia”. Those who ordered the survey to be conducted then used this statistic to pressure presidential election candidates.
The French program « Envoyé special» (Special Reporter) mentioned this figure in their report televised on April 13, 2017. The journalist declared that it is “an enormous figure conveniently reported in the middle of the electoral campaign (…). It is very rare to have a survey with such a high percentage.” The journalist sought to detect the manner in which the question was formulated: “Some individuals with unbearable suffering and incurable diseases sometimes request euthanasia from their doctors, meaning putting an end to their life, without suffering. In your opinion, should doctors be authorized by law to end their lives without suffering, for these individuals with unbearable suffering and incurable diseases if they so request?”
Wondering if these questions were formulated to influence the responses, the journalist question Alain Garrigou, the director at the Observatory for opinion polls. He declares that it is absolutely flagrant when reading the questions: “I see suffering mentioned twice…unbearable…incurable. Herein is a question of compassion.(…) This is a question which incites compassion, and anyone who would not accept this would be kind of a bastard. To ask the question in a neutral manner, it should rather be formulated: in your opinion, should we vote for a law authorizing euthanasia? I accuse IFOP of committing a blatant offense of methodological error. This question is anything but neutral.”
When questioned “is the question hereby trying to manipulate the polls” the latter replied: “There is a simple answer: who ordered the opinion survey?” We replied that it was an association in favor of euthanasia.
“So, there is your answer”.
In 2014, the group « Relieve Suffering without Killing » had IFOP carry out a survey on the end-of-life issue.
For the question:
« When you imagine the end of your own life, among the following points, which two points are priorities for you?” The following answers were given:
Only 34% of those who were polled said they would request euthanasia. This figure is a far cry from the 95% cited previously, which is emphasized today by Franceinfo in their article comparing the two opinion polls.
According to Frédéric Dabi, who edited the opinion poll for the Right to Die in Dignity Association, “this is a historical question”. In fact the association has been asking the same question regularly for the past several years.
“In reality, French citizens responded affirmatively to a badly formulated question, a type of dialectical trap. A question which makes the answer so obvious, that one cannot help but answer « yes », without appearing to be completely insane or uninformed. On one side there is « unbearable suffering » and on the other a solution « without suffering ».
The question repeatedly insists on comparing both extremes, two times in the same question. Tell me, do you know many individuals who would accept enduring intolerable situations? In principle, if a situation is intolerable, it should be immediately terminated. Thus 100% of French citizens should have answered “yes” and not only 92 or 96%! We are faced with a choice that has been rigged, a manipulation with ideological objectives, which voids the poll of any conclusive value, as for the two previous years.”
Henri de Soos comments: « The Association for the Right to Die in Dignity continues its insistence on asking the same biased question, it shouldn’t fool anyone. Relieving suffering at the end-of-life has always been a medical and social objective, and it’s completely untrue to assert that only euthanasia can alleviate constant suffering.
This is why Alliance VITA has been requesting an ambitious development strategy for developing palliative care and harshly criticizes this ongoing lack of action during the past 5-year term. Only at the end of 2015, after 3 years of embarrassing inactivity, did the government finally decide to create an inadequate strategy well-below current needs. Palliative care and quality humane accompaniment remain the best solutions to French citizens worried about the end of their lives.
Forbidding killing protects citizens, especially those who are the most vulnerable. This principle should remain the founding pillar of trust between caregivers and patients, to which the French people are so committed.”