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Update from France

In february we told about three new bills that were tabled in France. It’s time now for an update.

De La Gontrie bill – Rejected

On March 11, the bill of Senator Marie-Pierre de la Gontrie to establish the right to die with dignity was rejected by the Senate by a very narrow majority because of a massive vote by LR group MPs against the legalisation of active assisted dying.

Falorni bill – Voting blocked by heap of amendments

After this, all eyes were focussed on the in 2017 tabled bill by Olivier Falorni, giving the right to a free and chosen end of life, which was put on the agenda of the National Assembly, on Thursday 8 April. Unfortunately, this bill was blocked by 5 centre-right party MPs. The MPs from the opposition party Les Républicains submitted 2,158 amendments to the controversial bill, of a total of 3,000. Such a large number of amendments to the bill mean that – if each amendment is to be discussed properly – it will be impossible to pass the proposal in a single day, delaying its adoption. This meant the proposal could be voted on as planned.

Open letter to ‘Le Journal du Dimanche’

In an open letter to Le Journal du Dimanche, 270 MPs from parties on all sides in favour of the bill complained: “We want to debate. We want to vote. The time for Parliament has come. Please let us respect that.” The letter continued: “This question has been asked in our society for 40 years. Several texts have been submitted to the Assemblée [Nationale] and the Senate since 2017. Our citizens are asking us, are expecting us to debate, for the majority of them, for an adoption of this law.”

Signatories to the open letter included Jean-Louis Touraine, Yaël Braun-Pivet (from ruling party La République En Marche), Marine Brenier (Les Républicains), and four presidents of political parties, Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France Insoumise), Valérie Rabault (Parti Socialiste), Olivier Becht (Agir) and Bertrand Pancher (Libertés et territoires).

Open letter to President Emmanuel Macron

Jean-Luc Roméro, ADMD president, has launched a petition and open letter to President Emmanuel Macron. He denounced the MPs’ action as a “denial of democracy”. He said: “Five MPs are refusing to allow a majority of MPs to adopt a law on the final frontier of liberty. They have submitted hundreds of amendments, because this debate cannot continue past midnight on April 8. We must condemn this denial of democracy!”