Sarkozy draws line in sand over euthanasia

By Michael Cook

Editor’s note. This appears at www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/9938. By way of background, Mr. Cook has written previously, “The left-wing candidate in the French presidential election [François Hollande] has strongly endorsed the legalisation of euthanasia if he is elected.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

The two candidates in France’s presidential election are using euthanasia as one of the defining differences in the campaign. In a wide-ranging interview in [the French newspaper] Le Figaro, President Nicolas Sarkozy explained why he would not back it:

“Legalized euthanasia might lead us to dangerous excesses and would be contrary to our understanding of the dignity of human beings. The Leonetti law is perfectly balanced, establishing a principle, that of respect for life. It leaves room for a dialogue between the patient, his family and his physician. This demonstrates understanding and humanity. We do not have to legislate everything all the time.”

His opponent, François Hollande, a Socialist, recently revived France’s simmering euthanasia debate in a TV interview. A spokesman told Reuters that the exact protocols had not been worked out yet.