“What are the arguments invoked to modify the Claeys-Leonetti law? »

“What are the arguments invoked to modify the Claeys-Leonetti law?  »

Hello Jacques,

In the booklet “Information course on the end of life” given to the 185 citizens drawn by lot to participate in the convention responsible for reflecting on a possible evolution of the Claeys-Leonetti law of February 2016, the National Health Care Center palliatives and the end of life (CNSPFV), an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Health, has proposed a summary of the main arguments for legalizing “active assistance in dying”, a formula which covers euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Without repeating this non-exhaustive list of the 15 reasons most often invoked by associations or personalities in public debate, we can try to group them under some major themes.

► The first is ethical and legal : the right to dispose of one’s life and one’s death is presented as a fundamental freedom – “the ultimate freedom”, according to the expression of the former deputy and professor of medicine Jean-Louis Touraine –, comparable to a human right . For the supporters of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the conquest of this right would be a progress of civilization: the consecration of the autonomy of the sick person, alone able to decide what suits him best to guarantee his dignity according to her idea of ​​it. In this respect, accompanying the person who requests it by shortening their life would be a form of solicitude, a proof of solidarity.

► A second group of arguments relates to medical considerations. Proponents of a change in the law recognize that so-called palliative medicine, intended to support patients at the end of life by relieving their physical pain and psychological suffering, is yet to be developed. But they maintain that it will never be able to completely respond to all situations, in particular those of people with incurable, slowly evolving diseases, such as neurodegenerative pathologies, such as Charcot’s disease. Faced with these situations, which may be rare but very real, we must hear the requests for assistance in dying, they plead.

► Finally, the polls which, according to them, would show that the French are overwhelmingly in favor of the legalization of active assistance in dying, regardless of profiles or beliefs; proof, according to them, that French society is ready to evolve, as several European countries have done, such as Belgium since 2002.

Of course, all these arguments are debatable, which regularly fuels public debate, and sometimes controversy. During his hearing, on January 12, by the commission for the evaluation of the Claeys-Leonetti law, the former deputy and co-author of the text Jean Leonetti acknowledged that his law probably did not respond to all situations. «But we made a law for those who will diehe pleaded, not for those who want to die. »

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