France moves toward allowing euthanasia with new legislation

French parliament will debate from January a draft law that would move a step closer to euthanasia by allowing a right to “deep and ongoing sedation” until death for terminally ill patients who request it.

Apart from Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, few countries in the world explicitly permit euthanasia or assisted suicide, sometimes called mercy killings.

Speaking after a report on the matter was made public on Friday, President Francois Hollande said current legislation was too focused on the doctor’s analysis and did not consider the patient’s wishes.

“These proposals are centred on the patients whose suffering should be avoided. It respects their choice and wishes,” said Hollande, who has publicly referred on several occasions to the suffering his own aged mother experienced before her death.

Grey areas
Hollande promised before his 2012 election to introduce new right-to-die legislation in France, which left grey areas in a 2005 law on patient rights and care for the terminally ill.

The so-called Leonetti law currently limits therapeutic obstinacy”, or treatments that only prolong the life of a terminally ill patient without providing a cure.

Hollande said the new proposals would mean that if a patient’s life was immediately in danger and the treatment was not working or causing more suffering then they could be sedated with life-support equipment switched off.

If a patient was unable to decide alone, then the doctor after a consultative process, would have an obligation to end treatment because it would only be keeping the patient artificially alive, Hollande said.

Advance directives
He also said that if a person had indicated either before falling seriously ill or during their sickness how they wished to die then doctors should take account of those instructions.

“Advance directives in which everyone can stipulate refusal of aggressive treatment for serious illness would be “binding” under these proposals,” Hollande said.


Opinion polls show broad support for legalised euthanasia in late terminal cases. Hospital staff convicted of helping patients die in recent years have often been given suspended sentences in view of this approach.

The issue gained prominence after an elderly couple committed suicide in a luxury Paris hotel in 2013 leaving a note explaining that they had wanted to die with dignity.

“These proposals are balanced and realistic. They aim to stop the suffering of those close to the end of their lives, respect their wishes and allows the right to die in dignity,” Hollande said. – Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

High Court strikes down ‘paternalistic’ lockdown regulations

The order of unconstitutionality has been suspended for two weeks

L’Oréal workers demand a shutdown of local plant, citing Covid-19...

The French cosmetics company’s Midrand plant has recorded 16 Covid-19 cases in two weeks

Protective equipment for schools in KwaZulu-Natal goes ‘missing’

Without protective equipment, schools in uMlazi, Pinetown and Zululand won’t meet the already delayed deadline for reopening
Advertising

Press Releases

Empowering his people to unleash their potential

'Being registered as an AGA(SA) means you are capable of engineering an idea and turning it into money,' says Raymond Mayekisa

What is an AGA(SA) and AT(SA) and why do they matter?

If your company has these qualified professionals it will help improve efficiencies and accelerate progress by assisting your organisation to perform better

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday