French MPs urge the Government to adopt a new law legalizing euthanasia

On Wednesday 28 February,  156 MPs (out of 577) urged the French government to adopt a new regulation on end-of- life issues which would authorise an active medical assistance to die. In an Op-Ed article published in French newspaper Le Monde, they argued: “It is advisable to give patients at the end of their lives free disposition of their bodies and of their destiny. That is why we, MPs from different backgrounds (note: 122 from Macron’s party LRM), propose to legislate on this topic before the end of 2018”.

Two years after the adoption of the Claeys-Leonetti Law authorizing deep sedation for the terminally ill people, the euthanasia debate could be relaunched in France at the very moment when the National Ethics Advisory Committee (CCNE) is carrying out a reflection on a possible reviewing of French bioethics laws.

It is the first time that such an important number of MPs take position and argue in favour of a law legalizing euthanasia.

Earlier this month (13 February), President Macron organised a diner at the Elysée gathering pro-euthanasia organisations and religious leaders in order to gather viewpoints and to better form an opinion on the matter. It is worth noting that Emmanuel Macron did not mention this topic during the presidential election campaign nor took position on euthanasia in his program. In March 2017, he told La Croix (a French catholic newspaper) that he would not hurry to legislate on this topic.

In this regard, and as outlined in the Op-Ed article, it is very unlikely that the Government will take the initiative to introduce a draft bill. However, MPs are ready to do so and, in this context, parliamentary debates might turn out to be even more intense than during previous attempts.