While the current priority is to evaluate how the 2016 end-of-life law is being implemented, Alliance VITA protests the sudden pressure by some MP’s who are trying to impose the legalization of euthanasia in France. Today a proposal by Caroline Fiat (“Insubordinate France” political party) was examined by the National Assembly, but rejected by the Committee on Social Affairs. Nevertheless on February 1st, it will be debated in a public session.
The Claeys-Leonetti law dated February 2, 2016 is only starting to be recognized and implemented, since the application decrees are only dated from August 2017.
Several official initiatives are ongoing or planned in the short term future, to evaluate whether taking charge of the end-of-life situation is improving in France. The government has launched a survey via the “General Inspection for Social Affairs” (IGAS); Parliament is planning a study group and hearings in the upcoming weeks; the EESC also took up the subject; and medical assessments on the practice of “deep and continuous sedation until death” are in progress via the National Center for Palliative and End-of-Life Care (CNSPFV) and the French Society for Accompaniment and Palliative Care (SFAP).
After barely finishing 3 years of profound and in-depth debate on these end-of-life issues between 2012 and 2016, Alliance VITA views this ideological offensive as threatening to occult the genuine end-of-life issues at hand.
Improving support for people at the end of their lives is the main priority, whether they are in hospitals, nursing homes or at home, especially through pain management, palliative care and intergenerational solidarity. Indeed, in the few foreign countries which have legalized euthanasia, the serious “ethical slippage” observed is a warning for using our utmost caution.
On Monday January 29th, Alliance VITA will be heard by the EESC. VITA remains attentively alert that the National Bioethics Consultations do not serve as a pretext to question the prohibition to kill, which remains the basis for trust between patients and caregivers.
Alliance VITA was founded in 1993, when the first bioethics laws were at issue, and has been active for 25 years, to heighten awareness that biotechnology should be used to protect the weak, and in respect of human beings’ dignity, especially at certain vulnerable phases of life (embryonic stage, birth, disease, disability, old age or end-of-life).
Its help-lines and listening service SOS End-of-Life, created in 2004, offers support to people with complex dependency needs, those at the end-of-life, their caregivers, their relatives, as well as bereaved individuals.