Over 100 French MPs have put forward a proposal to legalise euthanasia in France.
The law proposition that has been put before the French parliament as thousands battle COVID-19, often dying slow, painful deaths in ICUs, unable to be at home or to see their loved ones.
Euthanasia has been a hotly debated subject in French politics for years but now 118 Members of Parliament (MPs) from the governing La Republique en Marche (LREM) political party have tabled a bill to give people in France the right to die.
The French parliament is made up of 577 MPs and the LREM currently hold a majority with 267 seats. The second-largest party is the Republicains group, formerly the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the traditional centre-right of Chirac and Sarkozy fame.
The proposition was put before the Assemblee Nationale, the French parliament, by LREM MP for the Rhone, Jean-Louis Touraine.
Its supporters say that it is vital that they provide the “medically assisted right to die” to people “over 18 and who are capable of taking this decision, at an advanced stage suffering from a terminal condition that is incurable, causing them unbearable physical or psychological pain.”
The document states that “people die badly in France. Do not let this adage, too often heard, endure without making the urgent necessary corrections”.
It would appear that the proposition has public support, with a recent IFOP (Institut francais d’opinion publique) survey stating that 85 percent of French citizens would like to die at home, and the MPs add that this is sadly only possible in 26 percent of cases, according to data from INED (French Institute for Demographic Studies). It is unclear if this figure takes into account the coronavirus pandemic.
The text also states that “the near unanimity of French citizens believe that each individual has the right to choose the way to end their own life”.
They also noted that an IPSOS poll identifies that “96 percent of French people questioned believe that French legislation should allow people suffering from an incurable and progressive disease to benefit from active medical assistance in dying, ending life in peaceful conditions, if they so request”.
They said they want “to respect the patient’s individual wishes” and that do this “the legislator must hear the demands of the citizens of our country and translate this into law. It is therefore responsible for broadening the scope of possibilities offered to the patient at the end of their life.”
While they admit that “there is no single answer”, they also said that “we must lay down a framework, beyond our differences of philosophies.”
The 118 MPs deemed France to be behind similar legislative pushes put forward by countries such as “Belgium, the Netherlands, Colombia, nine states in the United States, Canada, and recently Spain”, countries that they say have all “legislated, the first ones nearly 20 years ago, in favour of active medical assistance to help people die.”
They also believe that the French palliative branch of healthcare, which is supposed to make people comfortable at the end of their lives, is “very inferior to that of countries such as Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Quebec”.
The law proposition was officially submitted to the French parliament on 26th January.
The proposition comes as nearly 75,000 people have died of coronavirus in France, according to the latest data. It is currently unclear when the MPs will vote on this bill.
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.