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French experts about to develop glossary ahead of assisted dying legislation

On December 31, 2022, the French newspaper Le Monde reports that legal experts, scientists and writers are working to deliver a glossary related to the topic by March, at the French government’s request.

Less than two months ago, the French deputy minister for healthcare professions, Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, asked writer Erik Orsenna to design a lexicon of words related to the end of life. The glossary should be delivered before the end of the citizens’ convention on the topic, in March, when the group of randomly-drawn citizens will deliver an opinion on whether or not to legalize assisted suicide or euthanasia. Mr. Orsenna accepted the challenge, but suggested that nine other figures collaborate with him in preparing the glossary.

Why is such a glossary necessary? In order to achieve a “peaceful” national debate on the “end of life”, as President Emmanuel Macron put it. “We needed definitions of certain words that were accessible and understandable to all French people,” explained the minister. This led to the idea of asking specialists to clarify “the meaning of expressions such as ‘assisted suicide’, ‘active aid in dying’, and ‘continuous, deep sedation,'” listed Ms. Firmin Le Bodo.