More than 3000 amendments had been tabled on the text for “a free and chosen end of life”, reducing the possibility of a vote.
Applause, boos, injunctions and big words… The debate on euthanasia opened in a very theatrical atmosphere Thursday at the National Assembly. Considered in a limited time and faced with a barrage of thousands of amendments, this text, which deeply divides parliamentarians, is unlikely to be voted on. Chaotic conditions which exacerbated the battle between supporters of “ultimate freedom” and opponents of euthanasia.
“Why endure cruel agony, when death can deliver you from a life which has become nothing but a painful survival without hope of recovery?”, began by interviewing Olivier Falorni (Libertés et Territoires group), author of the bill guaranteeing a right to “A free and chosen end of life”. Camped in front of two piles made up of some 3000 amendments tabled on the text – including 2300 emanating from a quartet of LR deputies – he called out: “These sheets have only one goal: to prevent the National Assembly from voting here, sovereignly.” A first intervention with a standing ovation. “You haven’t won, you’ve already lost”, he launched a little later to LR deputies accused of filibustering.
Between announcing what you want, leaving in peace when the day comes, and deciding the time of your departure, there is much more than a simple gap between theory and practice, there is a world
Olivier Véran, Minister of Health
The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, reluctant to vote for this text in a context of health crisis, tried to calm people down. After thanking the parliamentarians for taking up this subject, he announced a mission to assess the current law on the end of life to identify the “Brakes” to its application. In response to the voices that have been raised in recent days to regret insufficient access to palliative care, he promised that they would soon be provided with additional financial means. “There are situations of great distress that must be heard and for which solutions must be found”, he then underlined, judging that the current legal framework on the end of life “Does not respond to certain situations”. But for now, “This debate needs time”, hammered the Minister of Health. Especially since the text examined proposes a major paradigm shift by ignoring the notion of “Vital prognosis committed in the short term” in requests for euthanasia. “Between announcing what you want, leaving in peace when the day comes, and deciding the time of your departure, there is much more than a simple gap between theory and practice, there is a world”, believes Olivier Véran, who relied on “wisdom” of deputies.
The majority divided
Should this be seen as an encouragement to supporters of a “right to die with dignity”? A signal before the next presidential elections? “Parliamentary obstruction of today is often the great parliamentary victories of tomorrow”, he slipped. “Yes, we will have to move forward on the subject of the end of life”, also indicated Christophe Castaner, president of the LREM group in the National Assembly, even if this subject divides the majority. For Jean-Louis Touraine (LREM), it is “Not possible to postpone this subject during the next presidential campaign ». This debate deserves “much better” only “applause” and “Sleeve effects”, stood out Thomas Mesnier (LREM), expressing his doubts. The deputies opposed to the legalization of euthanasia, from both the opposition and the majority, for their part denounced a «transgression» of the prohibition to kill, the risk of “Ethical break” and pleaded for a better application of the Leonetti-Claeys law.