5 questions around the bill studied today in the Assembly

What are we talking about? What does this law contain? Why is she unlikely to pass? Le Figaro answers five questions concerning the bill for a legalization of euthanasia this Thursday, April 8 at the National Assembly.

The end-of-life debate continues to divide. While the very controversial bill for the legalization of euthanasia is being studied this Thursday, April 8 from 3 p.m. by the National Assembly, Le Figaro answers five questions surrounding this text.

What are we talking about ?

The bill “giving and guaranteeing the right to a free and chosen end of life»Was tabled on October 17, 2017 by the deputy of Charente-Maritime Olivier Falorni. He is a long-time defender of a right to euthanasia for people suffering from an incurable disease. Tuesday, the deputy estimated “that there were between 2000 and 4000 clandestine euthanasia each year in France». For him, “This text is a great law of freedom».

Conversely, many deputies are reluctant to vote on this law, and a little over 3000 amendments have been tabled. Although no use of the term “euthanasia“Is made in the text, the objective is to open an appeal to a”active medical assistance in dying“For anyone”capable and major, in advanced or terminal phase of a serious and incurable condition», Not being able to be«appeased“Or judged”insupportable».

SEE ALSO – Euthanasia: an untimely law?

What does this bill contain?

The text proposed this Thursday to the National Assembly in plenary session includes 5 articles. The first article proposes “a quick and painless death” with a “medical assistance“. The latter is defined as “the prescription to a person by a doctor, at the latter’s express request, of a lethal product and assistance in the administration of this product by a doctor “. However, a conscience clause for doctors is provided: “They are not required to assist in the implementation of active medical assistance in dying. ”

Article 2 details the procedure: “When (…) a person asks his attending physician for active medical assistance in dying, the latter immediately seizes two other practitioners, at least one of whom is a specialist in the condition from which the applicant is suffering.” These latter “examine the person’s medical situation together“. It is also specified that the patient can retract at any time.

Article 3 provides that people who are no longer able to express themselves may have access to euthanasia, on condition that this request is expressly included in their advance directives or that it is relayed by their trusted person. The Dr Claire Fourcade, president of the French Society for Support and Palliative Care (Sfap), expressed concern to the Figaro Start of the week: “The risk of abuses is immense and we would lose the right to the inconstancy of our desires. This would open up a considerable field of potentially affected patients, including people with Alzheimer’s disease.».

Why is the law unlikely to pass?

Several reasons lead to think that it will be difficult for the members of the hemicycle to vote on the text. First of all, because of the heated debate which is likely to animate the Assembly. Indeed, this law is considered by some as a “ultimate freedom“, And by others as a”major transgression“. Last Sunday, in the JDD, 272 deputies affirmed in a forum their desire to “debate and vote”.

The debate also divides within the group The Republicans. A group of LR deputies and senators, at the initiative of Marine Brenier, member of the Alpes-Maritimes, declared themselves in favor of the evolution of the law towards a “ active aid in dying » in a column in the newspaper Le Monde .

Others, on the contrary, protested against the bill, in a column published in Le Figaro Wednesday April 7. For them, this initiative is both “strange, incongruous, provocative and contemptuous for all those who fight every day to save lives“. These LR deputies are supported by a strong support: Jean Leonetti, author of two laws on the end of life, voted unanimously in 2005 and in 2016. He sees in active euthanasia a “major transgression», And declares to Figaro that this “will not solve all end-of-life issues“. Marine Le Pen also judged the reopening of this debate “indecent“, When”we fight to save lives».

Another reason which suggests that the text could not be voted: the time allotted to analyze it. Indeed, the deputies have until this evening midnight to examine the law. However, a little more 3000 amendments were tabled, including 2300 by deputies The Republicans who are hostile to the text. It will therefore be complicated to examine all the amendments tabled before this evening, and therefore allow the text to be voted on.

What does the law say today about the end of life in France?

A right to “let Die“Was established with the Leonetti law in 2005. In 2016, the legislator went further: with the Claeys-Leonetti law, it is now authorized a”deep and continuous sedation until death».

For parliamentarians hostile to this new text, it would be better first of all to apply the current Claeys-Leonetti law which nevertheless provides for this deep sedation that can lead to death, but without active euthanasia.

For the supporters of the new bill studied this Thursday, the current texts are insufficient. According to Europe 1 , five years after the adoption of the Claeys-Leonetti law, 26 French departments still do not have a palliative care unit.

What about countries in favor of euthanasia?

While the majority of countries prohibit assisted suicide, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, the United States and Colombia allow it.

Olivier Falorni notably relied on the example of several foreign countries, in particular Belgium, for the bill studied this Thursday. Indeed, in Belgium, since 2002, it is allowed to practice euthanasia, but under certain very precise conditions. In 2014, this right was extended to minors.

In the Netherlands, assisted suicide has been legal since a law of April 12, 2001. In addition, euthanasia is authorized for children over 12 years old, with the consent of their parents.

On March 18, 2021, the Spanish Parliament passed a law authorizing euthanasia, when the caregiver kills the patient, but also assisted suicide, when the patient himself takes the prescribed dose. However, it has not yet entered into force.

Portugal also adopted a law on Friday January 29, 2021 authorizing “medically assisted death”. But as in Spain, it has not yet entered into force.

In Luxembourg, euthanasia has been legalized since March 2009 in the event of a medical situation “sans issue», But it is prohibited for minors.

In the United States, each state has its own law on the subject: in all, five American states allow euthanasia.

Switzerland does not admit active euthanasia, but passive euthanasia and assisted suicide are tolerated.

In Canada, a Supreme Court decision of February 6, 2015 leaned in favor of assisted suicide, which made this practice legal since June 17, 2016.

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