Nearly 200 people decide at the Citizens’ End of Life Convention whether or not they want to change the law
French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne gave the green light in Paris on Friday to the citizens’ convention on the end of life, whose debates could open the door to eventual legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, currently banned in France. “Is the current end-of-life monitoring framework adapted to the different situations that may arise or should some changes be made?” is the question that the 175 citizens who will participate in this event until the end of March 2023 will have to answer. , organized by the Economic, Social and Environmental Committee (Cese). The participants, aged between 18 and 87, were selected by lottery.
The debates of this citizens’ convention are expected to last four months and will issue a report with recommendations at the end. These conclusions will serve as a basis for the government to draft a possible bill on the matter and for the parliamentary debate that will take place later.
During the presidential election campaign last April, President Emmanuel Macron, who was running for re-election, expressed his wish for a national debate on the end of life in France. The chair believed that the best way to do that was with this format, following what already happened between October 2019 and June 2020 with the Citizen Climate Convention.
“There are few matters as sensitive and serious as those entrusted to them,” Borne said at the opening of the Civil Convention on the end of life. The prime minister invited the participants to “carry out an in-depth reflection, study all points of view, explore options and make proposals” for a possible change to the country’s legislation. Borne believes that while there is freedom in the debate, “we cannot ignore the suffering of those who ask for active help at the end of life”.
Currently, the Claeys-Leonetti law of 2016 in France prohibits euthanasia (deliberate intervention to end the life of a seriously ill person without prospect of recovery, at their express request) and assisted suicide (giving the seriously ill patient the drugs to end his life). However, French law allows “deep and continuous sedation” until death in terminally ill patients.
The National Ethics Advisory Commission (CNNE) issued its opinion last September on a possible change to the law for “active assisted death” in France. This group recommended strengthening palliative care, facilitating access to deep sedation for patients who are suffering a great deal and who are in a terminal phase, and opening the debate on active assisted dying under strict conditions.
Political formations are divided on the issue. Renaissance, Macron’s party, is in favor of amending the legislation. In the alliance of left parties (Nupes) there is unanimity on the need to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in France. Republicans, on the moderate right, are divided on the issue, while National Rally, the party of far-right Marine Le Pen, is against it.
Source: La Verdad
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