President launches euthanasia debate

Hollande plans a reform on rules on the terminally ill, saying there may be cases where a form of assisted dying could b

17 July 2012

PRESIDENT Hollande has reignited debate on euthanasia, saying he wants to “go further” than the existing “Leonetti Law” on the end of life, which rules it out.

Visiting a hospice in the Hauts-de-Seine, the president said he wants to put in place a reform of care for the terminally ill in the “coming months”, possibly allowing for a form of assisted dying.

The current law says that where someone is terminally ill doctors are not obliged to persist with “relentless” attempts to prolong their life without regard to the quality of it. It falls short, however of allowing doctors to take any active role in shortening life.

Hollande asked: “Can we go further in exceptional cases where withdrawing treatment is not enough to ease the suffering of patients going through irreversible pain which calls for a deliberate medical act, taken after a shared, thought-through decision?”

He has charged the president of a national medical ethics committee, Prof Didier Sicard, with running consultations around the country to feed into reforms.

However euthanasia pressure group the Association Pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité, says the professor has a Catholic bias to his views.

Photo: Matthieu Riegler

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