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NEW attempt in France to legalise euthanasia

On October 13 a number of French Senators have registered a Bill to Legalise euthanasia (“Proposition de Loi, relative à l’euthanasie volontaire”) with the President of the Senate.

In the introduction to the Bill the Senators motivate this (new) attempt for legalisation, following existing laws in The Netherlands and Belgium, by pointing at the last liberty to be conquered: the right of patients with incurable disease to request “euthanasie volontaire”.

They also argue that the practice of terminal (palliative) sedation, commonly used in most hospices, is far from satisfactory: “Terminal sedation is actually nothing else but active euthanasia with the doctor refusing to take into account the wishes of the concerned person”

They continue: “This solution indeed satisfies the wish of those patients that no longer wish to live, but it does not satisfy at all the request of those that want a legitimate, peaceful and dignified death”

The text of the Bill (in French only) can be read by clicking here.

The main articles (concerning the current Code de la Santé Publique, articles L.1110-2 and L. 1110-9) say:

Article 1.
L.1110-2 of the Health Law will be adapted as follows:
The person who is ill has a right to be respected in his/her dignity and his/her free choices. Under criteria to be defined in this underlying bill, such person may take advantage of active medical assistance to die, called “euthanasie volontaire”.

Article 2.
L.1110-9 of the health Law will be completed with:
Every competent person in an advanced or terminal stage of a serious and incurable disease, and which puts him/her in a state of dependency which he/she considers to be incompatible with his/her dignity, can request to take adfvantage of an “euthanasie volontaire”.

(RJ: thanks to Jacqueline Jencquel for her summary)