Euthanasia: another Ideological Assault in the French Senate

On March 3rd the Senate Social Affairs Committee is scheduled to examine a bill entitled “the right to die with dignity,” a phrase manipulated to promote the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Tabled by Marie-Pierre de la Gontrie, a Socialist senator from Paris and 50 of her colleagues, the authors of the euthanasia bill declare they are inspired by the work performed by the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (ADMD), which campaigns for the legalization of euthanasia.

Under the proposed bill, anyone could seek active assistance in dying if they have at least one serious and incurable condition which “inflicts unbearable physical or psychological pain that the person deems intolerable or places one in a state of dependence that he considers incompatible with their dignity.” One needn’t be at the end of life to make this request. It could even be requested by the individual’s medical power of attorney if he is unable to express his own will, provided that this clause is stipulated in his advance directives. The bill also aims to strengthen the legally binding nature of advance directives, which would be imposed on doctors and enforceable “without being subject to any specific duration of time “. The ensuing death would be classified as “death from natural causes.”

Since President Macron took office, four other proposals have been tabled including one by Jean-Louis Touraine, MP from the Rhône region, co-signed by 162 MPs from the President’s LREM party. MP Olivier Falorni announced that his party (“Liberté et Territoires”) will present a bill on April 8th at their next parliamentary timeslot. Although unlikely to pass, these bills are obviously intended to maintain continued legal pressure.

Alliance VITA considers that a law on euthanasia and assisted suicide is particularly insufferable and indecent, especially after the lessons of the pandemic situation, and the ensuing legal adaptations implemented for accompanying those at the end of life.

This ideological assault clouds the genuine issues related to the end of life. The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that the French citizens are very attached to those who are vulnerable. It has also demonstrated that current policies for accompanying the ageing and those at the end of life are inadequate. This provides an opportunity to find a new perspective on these issues. Today, the priority is to urgently enact the Advanced Age and Operational Autonomy Act which has been continually postponed since 2019, and to rapidly implement a consequential new plan for implementing palliative care, which has already been held up for three years.

 

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