November 28, 2022

French Panel recommends legalization of euthanasia

A panel of French citizens set up by the National Consultative Ethics Committee has recommended that the government legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients.

A panel of French citizens set up by the National Consultative Ethics Committee has recommended that the government legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients.

The panel, dubbed the ‘Conference of Citizens’, was composed of 18 people picked by commercial polling company IFOP to represent the nation.

In its report the panel said that “The possibility of committing medically assisted suicide… is, in our eyes, a legitimate right of a patient close to death or suffering from a terminal pathology, based first and foremost on their lucid consent and complete awareness”. The panel cautioned that this lucidity should be evaluated by at least two doctors.

They also suggested that in some cases, based on advanced directives, euthanasia could be provided for patients incapable of giving direct consent.

The report will contribute to the parameters of a new euthanasia law promised by President Francois Hollande. Hollande pledged in his election manifesto last year to legalise “medical assistance to end one’s life with dignity”.

All French polls have shown a majority of the population support legalizing some form of euthanasia, though there is great division over how far the law should go. 

Xavier Symons
Creative commons
euthanasia
France