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Euthanasia: the Assembly towards a passionate debate, but which risks not succeeding – Towards a right to euthanasia?


Despite a strong mobilization of deputies from all sides in his favor, time threatens to run out to review the some 3,000 amendments tabled, including 2,300 of LR deputies hostile to this bill by Olivier Falorni, from the Libertés group and Territories.

Adopted last week in the Social Affairs Committee, this text establishing a right to “a free and chosen end of life” is presented at first reading during a day reserved for this small opposition group, with, de facto, a time which will not go beyond midnight, which risks preventing the final vote.

An ultimate freedom which is still denied to the French

Long-time euthanasia activist, the deputy for Charente-Maritime, a former socialist, received the support of many elected officials on this subject which divides political families. Surrounded by a dozen deputies representing all the groups at the Palais Bourbon, Olivier Falorni pleaded on Tuesday for “this ultimate freedom which is still denied to the French”.

Despite the upcoming parliamentary guerrilla war, “this text will be defended” Thursday in the hemicycle, he promised, with the support of 270 deputies, or almost the majority, who signed a tribune in the “Journal du Dimanche”. Among his supporters, the presidents of four parliamentary groups: Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), Valérie Rabault (PS), Olivier Becht (Agir) and Bertrand Pancher (Freedoms and Territories).

The bill seeks to provide a new response to the painful and sensitive debate on the end of life and euthanasia, five years after the Claeys-Leonetti law, which allows deep and continuous sedation, up to death, but without active euthanasia.

The Falorni proposal provides that “any capable and adult person, in the advanced or terminal phase of a serious and incurable disease, whatever the cause, causing physical or psychological suffering which cannot be alleviated or whom he considers unbearable ”, Can request“ active medical assistance in dying ”.

Other provisions provide for a conscience clause for doctors or provide guarantees on the consent of patients.

The deputy underlined that this right was already acquired in Belgium, Switzerland or the Netherlands, and thatSpain and Portugal have just legislated in its favor. But his opponents consider it premature to go further, while the Claeys-Leonetti law is still poorly understood.

“We die badly in France”

“We die badly in France, because the law is not applied, lack of knowledge of it by the population, lack of training and resources for our caregivers”, estimated Thomas Mesnier, LREM deputy and doctor, in the “JDD”.

“Very unusual and unsuitable precipitation”

Many parliamentarians also deplore that a subject of such significance comes from a minority opposition group – 18 deputies from disparate backgrounds – rather than from a government project, impact study and opinion of the Ethics Committee. supporting. “The programming of this text is carried out in a very unusual and inappropriate haste”, deplore in a press release five LR deputies authors of serial amendments, criticized even within the right for their “obstruction”. Basically, “to enshrine in the law that giving death would become a sort of ultimate therapeutic solution shocks us”, they write.

Other elected officials underlined the risk of “ethical drift” and of contradiction with the Hippocratic oath of doctors.

The Executive unwilling to legislate

For its part, the government has shown little inclination to legislate, in a context already weighed down by the pandemic. In 2017, Emmanuel Macron had not made a commitment, simply calling for “first to fully apply the Claeys-Leonetti law”. But he had slipped: “Me, I wish to choose my end of life”.

For his part, Olivier Véran recently promised, during a comparable debate in the Senate, to better apply the current law.

“Ball of the hypocrites”

Damien Abad, boss of LR deputies, himself, denounced a “ball of hypocrites”, judging that the thousands of amendments were well suited to the government and the majority, divided on the subject.

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