France aims to legalise euthanasia despite ethics committee’s doubts
President Francois Hollande reaffirmed his aim to legalise voluntary euthanasia on Monday after a majority of France’s national ethics committee advised him not to let doctors help the terminally ill take their lives.
Hollande said France would hold a national debate on the issue in coming months and his government would submit a bill in parliament by year’s end that would go beyond the current law that bars doctors from providing assisted suicide.
Nearby Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland allow voluntary euthanasia in some form and Hollande included a pledge to legalise “medical assistance to end one’s life in dignity” among campaign promises for his election last year.
Another campaign pledge to allow same-sex marriage prompted several mass protests before it was voted into law in April.
Some of its opponents, who have been strongly supported by the Roman Catholic Church, have suggested launching a new wave of street protests against legalised euthanasia.
Asked about the ethics committee’s advice while visiting a hospital in the western port town of Lorient, Hollande said his government’s proposal “will complete and improve the (current) law which was already a step in the direction of human dignity”.