French MPs start to weigh up issues over assisted dying

A French parliamentary commission on Monday began the long task of examining proposals to be included in a controversial bill backed by French President Emmanuel Macron that would allow citizens to apply for assisted dying.

The initiative is the brainchild of Health Minister Catherine Vautrin, who said a commission-approved text would be submitted to the full parliament on 27 May. A final vote is unlikely before 2025.

Macron said last month that France needed the law. "There are situations you cannot humanely accept. The goal is to reconcile the autonomy of the individual with the solidarity of the nation," he added.

However, he says he only wants people suffering incurable illnesses and intense physical or psychological pain to have the right to ask for help to die.

Over the coming weeks, the parliamentary commission will take in recommendations from doctors, religious leaders and psychologists. Leading philosophers, sociologists are also expected to be consulted.

"We need to listen to everybody," said commission head Agnes Firmin de Bodo, a former junior health minister.


Vautrin told the Corse Matin newspaper that the text was "extremely balanced", notably thanks to the strict conditions for its application.

Only people born in France or long-term residents will be allowed to apply for assisted dying.

(with newswires)

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