the Citizens’ Convention decides to allow euthanasia or assisted suicide
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As the Citizens’ Convention on the end of life comes to an end, the majority of its 184 members are in favor of active assistance in dying, under conditions. The final report will be sent to Emmanuel Macron on Monday.
The Citizens’ Convention on the end of life, which for months has brought together French people drawn by lot to guide the action of the executive, concluded its debates on Sunday April 2 by confirming its majority position to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide. .
“For a majority of citizens of the Convention, access to active assistance in dying must be open”, says the Convention in its report voted on Sunday, while mentioning important nuances.
The Convention thus does not express a majority position on the case of minors or that of persons incapable of expressing their will. The report also precisely details various positions, including the minority position against legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide.
This convention, convened at the call of the government in the fall of 2022, brings together 184 French people drawn by lot, whose opinion aims to guide the action of the executive. They had to say if the current legislation on the end of life, fixed by the Claeys-Leonetti law of 2016, appears adapted to all situations and if changes should be made.
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“Alarming situation” of the French health system
This law authorizes “prolonged and continuous sedation”, in other words a permanent plunge into unconsciousness, for patients in a desperate state in the short term and whose suffering is intolerable. But it does not go so far as to authorize “active assistance in dying”, that is to say either an act of euthanasia by a caregiver, or assistance in suicide.
The majority of the French people gathered in agreement felt that the current end-of-life framework was not suitable. However, they do not hold the current legislation solely responsible for this.
They also underline the concrete difficulties of access to what is provided for by law, in particular an adequate supply of palliative care. As such, the Convention emphasizes the “alarming situation” of the French health system.
Beyond the single question of euthanasia or assisted suicide, the convention therefore makes a long list of recommendations to develop palliative care and facilitate access to it.
The uncertainty now relates to the concrete translation of these recommendations, in particular the drafting of a new law.
President Emmanuel Macron, who had in the past spoken out for a change in the law but now refrains from speaking out clearly, is due to receive the participants in the convention on Monday to say what follow-up he intends to give to their work.