France to vote on euthanasia later this year

By Michael Cook

FrancoisHollande

French President François Hollande

French President François Hollande wants a national debate on euthanasia so that parliament can vote on it before the end of the year.

Legal euthanasia was one of his campaign promises and he is pushing hard for it, despite advice from the national ethics committee. The Comité National d’Ethique (CCNE), by a majority of one, decided that euthanasia was too dangerous for society because vulnerable people could be victimised.

It expressed alarm at the situation in nearby Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, where euthanasia is legal. “These countries legalised euthanasia for patients in the terminal stage who are able to decide for themselves, but in practice the target group has progressively grown broader and been extended to vulnerable groups in society,” the CCNE’s report (PDF) said.

But Hollande insists. The CCNE wants a debate, he said, so France will have a debate and then Parliament will vote.

Editor’s note. This first appeared at bioedge.org.