President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that France needs to improve access to palliative care and that a draft bill will be presented by the end of the summer to address the issue of allowing some form of assisted dying.
He noted that the proposed legislation would be built on the discussions held by a randomly-selected group of 184 French citizens who have deliberated on the issue since December, with 76% of them favouring some form of assisted dying for those who desire it.
Macron did not specify whether the proposed bill would allow for euthanasia or assisted suicide or both, but emphasised that a consensus on such a sensitive issue is very important.
The French national council of doctors, l’Ordre des medecins, has expressed opposition to involving doctors in helping people to end their lives.
A number of countries in Europe – such as Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Spain – allow assisted suicide or euthanasia, while other European Union countries, including Portugal, only accept passive euthanasia.
Last year witnessed Italy’s first case of assisted suicide, when an Italian man who had been paralysed in a traffic accident died after receiving medical assistance to end his life.