• France's news in English
 

Euthanasia should be permitted: ethics council

Published: 14 Feb 2013 10:29 GMT+01:00

France's medical ethics council said Thursday that assisted suicide should be allowed in exceptional cases when suffering patients make "persistent and lucid requests" in a step forward to legalising euthanasia.

Invoking a "duty to humanity," the body said that this should be permitted upon the "persistent, lucid and repeated requests from someone suffering from an ailment for which the treatment has become ineffective".

But it said the condition should be verified "not by a sole doctor but a medical team".

The council did not use the term euthanasia but spoke of "assisted death".

President Francois Hollande had referred a report on allowing assisted suicide to the council to examine the precise circumstances under which such steps could be authorised, with a view to producing draft legislation by June.

"The existing legislation does not meet the legitimate concerns expressed by people who are gravely and incurably ill," Hollande had said.

The report submitted to the council said physicians should be allowed to authorise interventions that ensure quicker deaths for terminal patients in three specific sets of circumstances.

In the first case, the patient involved would be capable of making an explicit request to that effect or have issued advance instructions in the event of him or her becoming incapable of expressing an opinion.

The second scenario envisages medical teams withdrawing treatment and/or nourishment on the basis of a request by the family of a dying patient who is no longer conscious and has not made any instructions.

The third would apply to cases where treatment is serving only to sustain life artificially.

France not about to have Swiss style clinics

The author of the report, Professor Didier Sicard, stressed that he did not support any measures which "suddenly and prematurely end life".

"We are radically opposed to inscribing euthanasia in law," Sicard told a press conference.

He also stressed that he was not advocating Swiss-style clinics where people are provided with lethal medication to enable them to end their own lives.

Instead, Sicard said he favoured amendments to a 2005 law which already authorises doctors to administer painkilling drugs at levels they know will, as a secondary effect, shorten a patient's life.

But France's Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (ADMD) says the report does not go far enough and its recommendations already exist in a previous 2005 law.

"The association, its 50 000 members, and the 94 percent of French people who support the legalization of euthanasia, demand a humane law that allows help to be given to someone at the end of their life, not after several weeks of starvation, but at the moment chosen by the patient themselves," ADMD  said in a statement.

"A gesture of humanity, perfectly regulated, and in full agreement with the patient whose wishes must be observed when they were expressed," the statement added.

The association wants France to introduce a law along the lines of those already in place in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Sicard's report was drawn up after extensive consultation with the terminally ill and their families which revealed widespread dissatisfaction with a "cure at all costs" culture in the medical establishment.

According to France's national demographics council, there were about 3,000 euthanasia cases in the country annually on average, all of them illegal.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Dog buried alive sparks French social media fury
A French mastiff or Dogue de Bordeaux, the same breed as the dog that was found buried alive in France. Photo: AFP

Dog buried alive sparks French social media fury

Photos of a dog buried alive up to its head in France sparked an outpouring of anger on social media Wednesday and police said the owner was taken into custody. READ  

Frenchman caught with nine migrants in his car
Migrants in the Italian own of Ventimiglia. Photo: AFP

Frenchman caught with nine migrants in his car

A Frenchman faces up to five years in prison after he was caught trying to smuggle a carload of migrants from Italy into France. The incident comes amid reports of hard-up French people turning to part-time people smuggling. READ  

Di Maria 'delighted' after €63 million move to PSG
Can Angel Di Maria, PSG's latest recruit take the club to the promised land? Photo: AFP

Di Maria 'delighted' after €63 million move to PSG

Argentina winger Angel Di Maria said he is "delighted" to be joining French champions Paris-Saint Germain in an interview screened on BeIn Sports on Wednesday. READ  

Driver flees after killing 5-year-old Roma in Paris
Emergency crews rushed to the scene but were unable to revive the boy. Photo: France TV Info/Screenshot

Driver flees after killing 5-year-old Roma in Paris

A five-year-old Roma child was knocked over and killed in Paris on Tuesday when he was hit by a van as he crossed the road to meet his mother. The driver abandoned his van and fled on foot. READ  

Greasy mayonnaise halts traffic in western France
A section of motorway in France will have to be redone after greasy mayonnaise spread everywhere. Photo: AFP

Greasy mayonnaise halts traffic in western France

A section of motorway in France has been closed because it has been judged too dangerous. The reason: 20 tonnes of slippery mayonnaise that have been judged a recipe for disaster. READ  

Plan to cut speed limits on French motorways
France could see lower speed limits brought in for certain urban sections of autoroutes. Photo: AFP

Plan to cut speed limits on French motorways

France looks set to continue its drive to cut costly air pollution in certain towns with the government ready to back reducing speed limits on urban motorway sections to 90km/h. READ  

Missing flight MH370
French experts begin examining plane part
The plane part arriving in Paris on Saturday morning. Photo: Richard Bouhet/AFP

French experts begin examining plane part

Technical experts in France began examining a washed-up plane part on Wednesday that almost certainly belonged to missing flight MH370, raising hopes that some light may finally be shed on one of aviation's darkest mysteries. READ  

Calais migrant crisis
Migrant crisis: EU sends millions to aid France
Migrants put up a sign at a camp in Calais asking for help. Photo: AFP

Migrant crisis: EU sends millions to aid France

The European Commission offered on Tuesday to help France and Britain deal with the migrant crisis at the Channel Tunnel, as police on both sides braced for new attempts at the crossing. READ  

Riviera beach-gate
Saudis savaged over Paris hospital bills
Saudi Arabia owes €3.7 million to the Paris public hospital system. File photo: AFP

Saudis savaged over Paris hospital bills

Saudi royals who took over a public beach in southern France recently should have paid their country's outstanding hospital bills before leaving the country, a top French doctor has said. READ  

French parents busted over Disneyland drug run
The family headed home with a car full of stuffed toys and heroin. Photo: CetusCetus/Flickr

French parents busted over Disneyland drug run

Police have arrested a mother and father after finding ten kilogrammes of heroin in their car while the family was heading home from Disneyland Paris. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
'Massacre' of black cats shocks Marseille locals
Education
Rampaging kids trash French kindergarten
French bullfighting president mauled by rampaging bull
National
French court says 'non' to new cockfighting pits
France names capital cities for new regions
Ten things you didn't know about Gay Paris
France eyes boost to holiday leave rights
Business & Money
French dating sites 'not protecting client privacy'
Features
Learn more about the Bayonne festival - France's wildest party
Features
What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Features
What to see and do at the Paris Plages this summer
Saudi royals 'bar' French policewomen from beach
Take a closer look at the 560,000-year-old tooth found in France
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,616
jobs available