Euthanasia: Could we soon choose to “die with dignity”?

Will we soon witness one of the greatest societal reforms of Emmanuel Macron’s second five-year term? Without revealing the outlines, the President of the Republic announced that he wanted to pass a law on the end of life after a broad citizen consultation.

“This unique intuition that it’s time to do”

Should we legalize or not euthanasia? This question will soon be put to French citizens. It would denote a collective aspiration resulting from the “tendency of our societies to consider old age as a disease from which one can escape by only two treatments: DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone, renowned for its effects slowing down aging) to begin with, euthanasia to end it”, according to the philosopher Luc Ferry. If the stay in palliative care is the last stage in the life of these patients, the end of life constitutes a period of great suffering for which the legislative framework remains unclear. To reopen this debate, Emmanuel Macron wants to launch a citizens’ convention in order to submit this choice to the populations and bring together the actors involved around the issues of legalizing euthanasia.

To do this, the president dusted off the thorny issue on September 2, alongside Line Renaud, raised to the rank of Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. The 94-year-old actress, also godmother of the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (ADMD), called on the deputies to “pass as soon as possible” a law on the right to euthanasia. “Your fight for the right to die with dignity resembles you and obliges us. Dictated by kindness, the requirement and this unique intuition that it is the moment to do, then we will do”, reacted the Head of State to the French actress.

A citizens’ convention by 2023?

“The objective of palliative care, both in hospital and at home, is to relieve physical pain and other symptoms, but also to take into account psychological, social and spiritual suffering”, defends the Société Française d’Accompagnement et of Palliative Care. But should we understand the patients on the verge of death who want to “end it”? It would soon be possible to give its opinion on the matter, according to the information provided by France Info. A broad consultation should thus see the light of day by 2023. As the electoral promise begins to take shape, the Elysée should soon announce the method and the timetable for the project, according to the public service channel.

A project applauded by Jean-Luc Romero, former president of the ADMD association (the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity): “We were very happy to hear President Emmanuel Macron make a clear commitment to implement a law on the right to die with dignity. On the strength of this announcement, I was relieved that the President confirmed it to me for 2023”.

“If we applied the law before trying to change it? »

In force since February 2, 2016, the Claeys-Leonetti law has created a right to deep and continuous sedation until death, for patients in palliative care. It succeeds the Leonetti law of 2005 and responds to a strong commitment of the candidate Hollande: the right to “medical assistance to end one’s life in dignity”. But this text does not authorize euthanasia or assisted suicide. This problem was however a promise of the candidate Emmanuel Macron, committing to “submit the end of life to a citizens’ convention, and on the basis of the conclusions of this, I will submit either to the national representation or to the people the choice of ‘to go to the end of the path that will be advocated’.

In a newspaper column The worldthe jurist Laurent Frémont, founder of the Holding the hand collective, which campaigns in particular for the right of access to patients, returned to the legal framework of the reform, criticizing in particular “the relevance of such a calendar”.

He specifies: “During the last decades, the legal framework of the end of life has been the subject of numerous legislative developments, much more than in other less sensitive areas of medico-social law. The prospect of new legislative changes leaves doubtful to say the least. “. Finally, Laurent Frémont calls for “applying the law before seeking to modify it”.

For the time being, we cannot predict the opening of new rights, even if the president of the ethics committee, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, aims to give more rights to end-of-life patients, report our colleagues. of Release. Namely, a possible authorization of medicalized euthanasia, under conditions.

In a few days, the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) will deliver its opinion on the end of life and the evolution of the Claeys-Leonetti law. To be continued…

For further

Dying with dignity, C. Legay (Ed. Robert Laffont)
“Help me, no one will know. “Because she listens to patients at the end of their suffering, the head of the association Right to die with dignity wanted to give them a voice. With the testimony of a doctor who acceded, forty times, to the request of his patients and comments by André Comte-Sponville. A brave plea.

Euthanasia: Could we soon choose to “die with dignity”?