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11 Mar, 2024 01:35

French leader proposes expansion of euthanasia laws

President Emmanuel Macron has said terminally ill patients will be allowed to request “help to die”
French leader proposes expansion of euthanasia laws

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to expand the country’s euthanasia laws to allow more patients to request a medically assisted death. A bill on the matter will be presented to parliament by the summer, he said.

In an interview with the Liberation and La Croix newspapers published on Sunday, the French leader insisted on calling the method “help to die,” arguing it is necessary “because there are situations you cannot humanely accept.” The bill will help “reconcile the autonomy of the individual and the solidarity of the nation,” Macron added.

France legalized passive euthanasia in 2005, allowing terminally ill patients to be taken off life support. Active euthanasia, which involves injecting a patient with a lethal dose of a drug, remains illegal.

The new bill will open a path to “requesting assistance in dying under certain strict conditions,” the president said, adding that patients will be allowed to administer “the lethal substance” themselves or with the help of a medical professional. The option will be reserved for people “suffering from incurable illnesses” who are capable of making their own decisions, which excludes patients with mental disorders, as well as those with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

According to La Croix, Macron promised to introduce a bill on the right to “die with dignity” during his 2022 presidential campaign. Only a small percentage of patients request the end-of-life procedure, the newspaper reported, citing oncology doctors.