April 14. 2024. 6:31

The Daily

Read the World Today

Macron invites citizens to open end-of-life debate

Members of the citizens’ convention will present their conclusions on end of life after six months of research at the Elysée Palace on Monday at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron decided in September 2022 to create a citizens’ convention, composed of 184 randomly selected members, to answer the question: “Is the framework of support for the end of life adapted to the different situations encountered or should possible changes be introduced?”

The 184 members have been working on the subject since October and have heard from many experts on the subject such as doctors, philosophers, carers and religious representatives. The debates ended on Sunday and a report was published.

Two participants of the convention will meet with the president on Monday morning to present their conclusions.

About 97% of the citizens responded that the current “support framework” should “evolve” in France. The first reason is “the inequality of access to end-of-life support”, and the second is “the lack of satisfactory responses in the current framework for certain end-of-life situations.”

In France, the 2016 Claeys-Leonetti law authorises “prolonged and continuous sedation,” for patients with a short-term life-threatening condition. But it does not authorise active assistance in dying such as euthanasia or assisted suicide as may be the case in Belgium or Switzerland.

Around 76% of the members of the convention are in favour of access to assisted suicide and euthanasia “under certain conditions and at the end of a marked path.”

Active assistance in dying should be a possibility reserved for the terminally ill and those suffering from intractable pain, the report states.

“It is time that the voice of the citizenry be fully heard and taken into account,” the 184 members concluded.

(Clara Bauer-Babef | EURACTIV.fr)