French Parliament starts debate about End of Life bill


Western Europe

Joe-Lize Kruijsse-Brugge, CNE.news

France's Prime Minister Gabriel Attal addresses deputies during a session of questions to the government at the National Assembly, French Parliament. Photo AFP, Stephane de Sakutin

French lawmakers have two weeks ahead of intense debate, French media write. The Parliament debates the legalisation of self-determined death in the country. “This parliamentary discussion comes after a very long work launched in February 2022 with the Citizens’ Convention.”

Despite the many opinions that have been voiced about the proposal on the end of life, the battle is not over yet, RFI expects. According to the French news website, the eligibility criteria for self-determined death are going to be a hot potato on which views differ greatly.

Originally, the proposal only allowed people who suffered “from a serious and incurable condition with a short or medium-term life-threatening prognosis”, who were of “full age”, could “express their wishes freely and in an informed manner” and “suffered from an illness that is untreatable or unbearable”.

However, the committee of the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (ADMD) that was ordered to review the bill rephrased the reference to “short- or medium-term life-threatening condition”. It replaced the words with: “Advanced or terminal phase” of illness. The general rapporteur on the issue, Olivier Falorni, pointed out that the earlier wording would leave out “a certain number of patients”. However, the French coalition now worries that this sentence could provide a loophole for people who do not suffer from a lethal disease.

According to Actual News Magazine, a clause that requires a patient to administer his or her own suicide drugs could also become a point of debate. Some politicians argue that people should be able to designate someone to administer the suicide drug in case they are unable to do so themselves.

Despite the changes, Falorni emphasises that the “spirit and content of the text” have not been changed, La Croix writes.

Palliative care

The End of Life bill includes a passage about palliative care, RFI states. This amendment gives palliative patients the right to care at the end of their lives. The health authorities are responsible for guaranteeing this right for all people. RFI states that one in two people do not have access to palliative care.

In addition, the proposal leaves room for conscientious objection. Healthcare workers who do not want to carry out euthanasia may refuse to do so if they inform the patient immediately about this and refer them to other professionals who are willing to help them realise their death wish, Capital reports.


Vincent Jordy, vice president of the Conference of Bishops of France, worries about the upcoming debates. He argues that an “essential subject” like self-determined death should be decided by a referendum. “Faced with the surge of networks and lobbies (...), should we not give the French a voice on such an essential subject, for example, in the form of a referendum, as the president had mentioned of the Republic?” he said during an interview with L’Humanité, as reported by France Info.

The parliamentary vote on the End of Life bill is scheduled for June 11. However, an agreement on a final text could take much longer.



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