Active assistance in dying, palliative care… the sensitive bill on the end of life arrives this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers

Active assistance in dying, palliative care… the sensitive bill on the end of life arrives this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers

Une aide active à mourir encadrée par des règles très précises. Archive Illustration Midi Libre – RICHARD DE HULLESSEN

The text will be presented this Wednesday, with measures strengthening palliative care.

Emmanuel Macron wants to make this the major societal reform of his second five-year term. The bill on the end of life, which should open up the possibility of legalization of supervised assistance in dying, will be presented this Wednesday to the Council of Ministers.

A key step, on a path still strewn with pitfalls. The executive has decided to take its time on this sensitive subject, there will be no accelerated procedure. The examination of the text, which will then be presented to the deputies on May 27, could therefore theoretically stretch over two years in the event of differences between the Senate and the National Assembly.< /p>

"A French model"

Inspired by the work of the Citizens' Convention on the end of life, 200 French people chosen at random who voted in early 2023 for conditional authorization of assisted suicide , or even euthanasia, this bill must build "a French model" of the end of life, in the words of Emmanuel Macron, on March 10, in an interview given to Libération and La Croix.

The text must open up the possibility of assisted suicide, within a strict framework. It will also detail, in its first part, measures to strengthen access to palliative care. The executive wants each patient to be offered supportive care first.

The government has planned a dedicated plan for this. Catherine Vautrin has already announced, on Saturday, an envelope of 1.1 billion euros; additional over ten years, in order to develop palliative care. In 2034, the Social Security budget will reach 2.7 billion euros; in this area.

Support homes

"When someone thinks they meet the criteria to potentially request assistance in dying, the first thing they will be offered is palliative care. And therefore, to propose them, they still need to be accessible, explained the Minister of Labor, Health and Solidarity, in an interview with the newspaper Le World.

The text will also provide for the experimentation of support houses. "A place which is no longer really medicalized like a hospital center, but which will accommodate very seriously ill people, who can no longer or no longer wish to live at home", explained Catherine Vautrin.

The minister also advocates "earlier and more home-oriented care" and recruitment of doctors by creating a palliative and support medicine specialty. The second part of the bill will get into the hard part, with the delicate question of active assistance in dying.

Strict rules

The Head of State has already set a framework: adult patients, "capable of full and complete discernment& quot; suffering from an incurable illness, with a life-threatening prognosis in the short or medium term, may be prescribed a lethal product. They must administer it themselves or, if they are unable to do so, be assisted by a member of the medical profession or a designated volunteer.

According to LCP projections, the text could receive most of its support from the majority and the left, while the right will defend palliative care measures more.

A subject awaited by the French

The challenge for the majority will be to succeed in broadening its support sufficiently beyond these traditional divisions, on a theme which also questions the medical profession, but which is expected by the French.

According to an Ifop-Le JDD survey published on April 1, 70% of them are in favor of the principle of promoting active assistance in dying.

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