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The Exit Internationalist

September 18, 2022

Euthanasia Convention for France

Euthanasia Convention for France

“[A] Citizens’ Convention? Totally bogus” says Bruno Retailleau, leader of the right-wing Republicans reports Liberation.

Retailleau’s remark is aimed at the “citizens’ consultation” to which Emmanuel Macron has referred the debates on euthanasia & assisted suicide. in a Citizens’ Convention, the head of state refrains from having an “official position”.

While divided on the substance, the right and left have united in a sharp criticism of the proposal, whose format is yet to be known.

The Spectre of the Citizens’ Climate Convention

“When we see the fate of the Citizens’ Climate Convention [CCC], I am not convinced that it is the right model,” said the president of the LR group in the National Assembly, Olivier Marleix.

The memory of Macron’s unfulfilled promises to ‘whole-heartedly adopt the proposals of the Climate Convention’ remains fresh. 

Deputy Clémentine Autain said on LCI “I am very skeptical about the citizens’ conventions set up by the President of the Republic”.

‘The Convention for the environment was a huge fiasco. Now there is a new manifestation from the “Monarchic Republic” of the president that is “systematically bypassing the Parliament”.

Other opposition politicians expressed similar sentiments. “[A]nother commission! Why delay again and again? How many people will suffer in the meantime?”, the socialist senator Marie-Pierre de La Gontrie despaired on Twitter.

Such criticism was brushed aside by members of the government, including the Minister of Transformation and Public Service, Stanislas Guérini.

Guérini considers it “extremely wise” to resort to a consultation “upstream of a parliamentary debate, which will not be erased, [in order to] prepare consensus”.

Euthanasia Convention for France

Fracture Lines

“Consensus” will be, without any doubt, difficult to find.

The majority of the right-wing parties are opposed to legislative change and are demanding, above all, increased funding for palliative care. Some harbor doubts about the majority’s willingness to dialogue.

“We know where [Emmanuel Macron] wants to go, he spoke of the Belgian model, which for me is one of the worst: in twenty years, they have trivialized euthanasia” [legal and very supervised, ed. note], suggested Bruno Retailleau.

The former LR deputy Jean Leonetti, author of the law in force since 2016 (allowing advance directives – yes you heard it right), shares the same distrust: “[the head of state] is not asking to go further, he is asking to go elsewhere.

‘Instead of saying ‘I accompany the end of life without suffering, I give the means to do so’ […], he [asks]: can we give death to someone who asks for it when he is at the end of life?”

Conversely, there is unanimous support on the left for the freedom to choose one’s death when the suffering of an incurable disease is no longer bearable.

Many people have been waiting for a long time for the question to come back to the table.

Thus Caroline Fiat, vice president of the National Assembly and rapporteur of a bill for a “dignified end of life” in 2018, on Twitter, the insoumise committed this Tuesday to participate “actively [in] the work on this subject that is particularly close to my heart.”

Same for Guillaume Lacroix, who has pledged that the Radical Left Party, which he leads, “will invest more than ever in favor of this ultimate freedom symbol of humanism.”

The debates will be lively, and the way they will be decided is not yet clear, Emmanuel Macron having indicated that he will not rule out the use of a referendum.

As a legislative modus operandi, referendums (direct people’s votes) are supported Marine Le Pen.

Be that as it may, the president of the National Rally group in the National Assembly, is fiercely opposed to euthanasia, thinks that “in any case, there is no need for a law”.

Ironically the popular vote remains, since the presidential campaign, one of her most cherished mantras.

The method has been advised against by the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE), “because of the extreme complexity of the subject” and “the importance of nuances”.

Note – the Belgian model put forward by Macron would not have helped Jean-Luc Godard (because he was not sick).

Liberation reported on the work of Exit International in March 2021.