France – the law “on the end of life”. Bishops: we will cross the red line
French bishops oppose the new law on the “end of life” currently under public consultation in the country. “We will cross the red line if we vote for active help in dying, because we will be in a society that gives itself the right to kill,” warned Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, President of the French Bishops’ Conference.
In an interview published over the weekend for the daily “Le Parisien”, Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort advocates the full implementation of the current legislation, the so-called Claeys-Leonetti’s laws on palliative care and the patient’s right to stop treatment, not the creation of a new “end-of-life” law that the Church believes to legalize euthanasia and “active assistance” in dying.
Leonetti’s Law sets out the circumstances that allow a patient to stop treatment and benefit from deep and continuous sedation until death. This happens when his life predictions are short-term, for example after road accident.
“We will cross the red line if we vote for active help in dying, because we will be in a society that gives itself the right to kill,” he said. – Building a society on the fact that we help each other live and not die seems to me to be a necessary choice that has huge consequences for our entire society – emphasized the President of the Bishops’ Conference France.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide
According to the definition given by the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) in September, euthanasia is “an act intended to deliberately end the life of a person suffering from a serious and incurable disease, at his request, in order to put an end to an unbearable situation.” Assisted suicide is “giving a person the means to commit suicide on his own.” The difference between the two acts therefore lies, in particular, in the degree of involvement of a third party.
In the case of assisted suicide, this external effect may “be limited to a medical prescription for a lethal product,” but in the case of euthanasia, “the doctor administers the product himself,” explained the CCNE.
The National Consultative Ethics Committee composed of scientists, but also political and legal figures, asked for clarification of the conditions in the law enabling “active help in dying” for patients who express such a wish. This issue will have to be resolved by the Civic Convention. The drawing of participants from among the French for the Convention began on October 25 and is expected to end in early December.
The Civic Convention announced in September by French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to present its conclusions in March. At the same time, the government also announced public debates in various parts of the country about the end of life law and euthanasia.
Main photo source: YARA NARDI / Reuters / Forum
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