What if the record isn’t completely scratched? What if France joined Spain and Portugal, who have just authorized, in certain situations, euthanasia? At the beginning of February, they are now 160 members of the majority to have co-signed the bill, brought by Jean-Louis Touraine, for active assistance in dying. With the support of left-wing deputies but also of some Republican deputies, this text would logically be adopted. But it still has to be on the agenda. And that is another matter.
“I remain optimistic”, says Jean-Louis Touraine, a former socialist who became a deputy for the Republic on the move, who has made euthanasia a personal struggle for ten years. Today, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, it seems, turns a deaf ear on the subject, but he is not a decision maker: if there is a green light, it will come from the Elysee Palace. And here the answer is uncertain. “Sometime ago, tells us the deputy Touraine, Emmanuel Macron said he would like to choose his end of life, but he asks the question of the opportunity of the moment : when ?» For this immunologist, no doubt, it’s now. And he explains: “We have a hindsight of five years on the Claeys-Leonetti law ; she showed her shortcomings, not responding to all cases. There has been progress, but for example deep and continuous sedation until death remains poorly applied, in addition it does not respond to the cases of people with an incurable disease, who want to be exempted from living an agony ”.
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Other arguments support, in his view, the need to act now: “With the Covid, we have seen the “badly die”. Many people have died in poor conditions, alone, isolated, without their loved one. Sometimes they weren’t heard when they were suffocating. ” For Jean-Louis Touraine, it would also be appropriate to act, from a political point of view. He explains: “It would be an excellent way to end this mandate by showing that we are listening to the sufferings and requests of patients and more generally of citizens. I remind you that the near unanimity of the French believes that each individual has the right to choose the way to end his own life.»And recall the results of the Ifop poll of October 2014 which attest that «96 % of French people questioned believe that French legislation should authorize doctors to end, without suffering, the lives of people who request it ”. The citizens’ conference, organized by the National Consultative Ethics Committee, in December 2013, also led to similar recommendations.
In short, the time has come. In the bill, a framework is clearly defined. With a series of safeguards. So it is written: “The person who asks to benefit from active medical assistance in dying must be of legal age, capable and suffer from an incurable disease, causing physical pain or psychological suffering such that no therapeutic solution is possible. . “ Its choice must be free and informed, revocable at any time. The request must then be investigated “By a college of three doctors in order to appreciate their free, enlightened, thoughtful and explicit character”. And again this precision: “If, for a personal reason, a doctor does not wish to participate in this procedure, he can of course invoke the conscience clause and pass this mission on to one of his colleagues. “ Finally, “Active medical assistance in dying must be able to be carried out either by the patient himself and in the presence of the doctor, or by the doctor. The entire procedure must be included in the patient’s medical file ”.
A coherent project, even if it mixes medical assistance in dying with assisted suicide. At the Ministry of Health, we have other concerns. And we don’t make it a priority. For example, on palliative care, we are still waiting for the appointment of a new manager for the next national plan. Need we remind you that it is estimated today that only one in four people at the end of life who would need palliative care can currently benefit from it?