The President of France, François Hollande since the election in May 2012, has stated on several occasions his intention to legalize euthanasia.
Hollande has faced strong opposition to legalizing euthanasia.
Instead of legalizing euthanasia, Hollande has announced that his government will introduce a bill to legislate rules for terminal sedation and to update (Leonetti law) the rules related to the withholding and withdrawal of medical treatment.
According to media reports, the Hollande called for:
“the right to deep, continuous sedation until death” if the patient asks for it, and if their condition threatens life in the short term. If a patient isn’t able to decide alone, then the doctor, after a necessary consultation, would end treatment by switching off their life support.
The new legislation may also allow patients to express their wishes regarding how they want to die, and oblige doctors to follow these instructions when patients are no longer able to express their will.
The group soulager mais pas tuer responded to the proposed legislation with caution. They fear that the wording of the bill will allow covert euthanasia. They stated:
Sedation terminal, taking the risk of accelerating exceptionally occurrence of death may be legitimate. However, sedation whose intention and result quickly cause death is euthanasia. Playing with words is to introduce a serious risk of confusion insecure patients who will doubt the real intention of those who care for them.
Groups opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide and supporting a social solidarity have become well organized over the past few years.