As the Covid-19 continues to mow souls, parliamentarians want to put the right to die back on the legislative agenda. In the Assembly as in the Senate, several bills have recently been tabled in order to debate the conditions of the end of life of the French, and to make possible, in very specific cases, “active assistance in dying” or – the term is more sensitive – euthanasia.
“The Covid crisis has made this issue (Editor’s note: end of life) visible to all, ”pleads the deputy (LREM) of the Rhône, Jean-Louis Touraine. This former doctor has just tabled a bill in the Assembly, co-signed by 118 walking deputies, to open the right to “medical assistance in dying” to people “of full age and capable, in the advanced or terminal phase of a serious illness. and incurable, causing unbearable physical pain or psychological suffering ”. A series of measures which would complete the current legislation, in order to put an end to the adage according to which “one dies badly in France”, according to Touraine, who had already tried, without success, to push the subject under Holland, and to start of the Macron five-year term.
The right to be helped to die medically
The Leonetti (2005) and Claeys-Leonetti (2016) laws had already made it possible to put an end to “therapeutic relentlessness” and then to accompany the patient towards death thanks to “deep and continuous sedation” until death. Advocates of euthanasia believe that the patient should have the right to be helped to die medically, rather than simply stopping treatment, which, even added to sedation, would not prevent the patient from suffering until his last breath.
“The situation is neither dignified for the patient, nor acceptable for the family”, defends Marine Brenier, MP (LR) for Nice, who says he saw her grandfather “shrink visibly” during the ten days that the phase-out phase lasted. Member of the parliamentary study group on the end of life, chaired by Jean-Louis Touraine, she also recently tabled a bill on the subject, co-signed by about fifteen of her right-wing colleagues. “People want a choice of how they are going to leave,” Brenier continues.
In the Senate, the subject is carried by the socialist Marie-Pierre De La Gontrie, who also tabled a text this winter. For his part, the president of the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (ADMD), Jean-Luc Romero, is due to send an open letter to the President on the subject next week.
All are based on an Ipsos survey published in March 2019, attesting that 96% of French people say they are in favor of euthanasia. The same institute already pointed out “the gap between opinion and legislation” in… 1999, when 79% of those questioned said they were in favor. In December, Spain took the plunge by authorizing it, becoming the sixth country in the world to do so. “This responds to a demand from society”, also defends the deputy (LREM) of Paris Benjamin Griveaux, close to the President, who denounces, him, “a hypocrisy” on the subject, while in fact, the help to dying “is already practiced under cover in France”. In 2012, the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) estimated that this concerned between 2,000 and 4,000 people per year.
The 2016 law and access to palliative care for all
“We are not going to legislate because some want to control the power to kill! », Strongly opposes Xavier Breton, deputy (LR) of Ain, who sees there« an offensive of militants of euthanasia »,« a minority request ». He believes that we must already fully apply the 2016 law, and make access to palliative care for all in the territory – which is also demanded by Touraine and others.
Asked about the subject in 2017, Jean Leonetti defended him, against the “freedom” to give death, the “solidarity” that society owed to any dying person, believing that the important thing is to support him as well as possible. This “conflict of values” as Leonetti pointed out would not fail to ignite the debates. Even if public opinion seems to have made its choice.
But can such a law already be put on the parliamentary agenda before the presidential election? If the boss of LREM deputies Christophe Castaner is personally in favor, there would be “not completely consensus”, we evacuate to the group. Too hot, a year before the presidential election? The current legislative bottleneck is certainly not helping either.
In March 2017, the candidate Emmanuel Macron had declared himself for a “peaceful” debate on the subject, saying in a personal capacity that he wanted to “choose [sa] end of life “. Many would already like to see him take up the subject before the end of his five-year term.