French President Emmanuel Macron wants to start a broad debate on the sensitive topic of euthanasia. A citizens’ platform will consider the issue from October, the Elysée announced Tuesday.
The results of the dialogue should be available in March. Any legislative changes would then be before the end of next year.
In France, active euthanasia is prohibited or administering a lethal substance to someone. However, passive euthanasia by turning off machines and indirect euthanasia, in which strong medication relieves pain and has the side effect that death is accelerated, are allowed.
The French Council of Ethics wrote that an ethical application of active euthanasia is conceivable under certain strict conditions. For example, only terminally ill adults with physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated and whose illness is life-threatening in the medium term would be eligible.
The subject is quite controversial in France. Several cases of seriously ill people who wanted to die or whose deaths were the subject of years of wrangling have sparked heated debate in society. At the same time as the civil dialogue, the government now also wants to discuss euthanasia with members of the parliamentary chambers.