Another Step Towards Euthanasia in France

April 13, 2018
Headquarters of the Economic, Social, and Environmental Council (CESE), in Paris.

The law on euthanasia is looming on the horizon: while the General Assembly on Bioethics has not yet come to a close, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), an advisory council, adopted on April 10, 2018, a call to legalize “explicitly lethal deep sedation” for persons at the end of their lives who ask for it.

The CESE indicates that it took up this subject because of its attention “to the citizens’ preoccupation with the question of the end of life, expressed both in recent surveys and in online petitions that received over 350,000 signatures.”

This claim calls for two remarks: first, on matters of such great importance, it is most surprising to see State organisms basing themselves on “online petitions” in making decisions with such serious consequences. Second, the CESE was less attentive to the petition against “homosexual marriage” that received 700,000 signatures: is democracy a matter of variable geometry, or is it necessarily a biased and manipulated regime?

The Report of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council

Concretely, the 12th recommendation of the CESE in its report calls for a new law on “final care.” It offers sick people the possibility of receiving upon request and “under strictly defined conditions” “an explicitly lethal deep sedation,” “even through advance directives or the designation of a trusted person.”

This access to what the CESE does not hesitate to call a “new right” would have three guardrails, that will be easy to modify when the time is right. The person making the request has to be 1) an adult; 2) able to show he is undergoing “unappeasable physical or psychological suffering” and 3) suffering from an “advanced or terminal incurable condition.”

Who will administer death by injection? A doctor or the person himself, indicates the report, thus opening the door to assisted suicide. This “right” to be put to death comes with a “conscience clause” allowing “all doctors to refuse to practice the act of euthanasia”. At least for now.

Certain members of the CESE who belong to the National Union of Family Associations and the CFTC (French Confederation of Christian Workers) succeeded in having their “divergence of opinion” mentioned in the report.

The Triumph of Newspeak

Alliance Vita reacted strongly in the person of its Delegate General, Tugdual Derville. In a statement published on April 10, 2018, under the title “The CESE Disguises Euthanasia!”, he revealed the undeniable uneasiness that reigned in the assembly room and the complete lack of unanimity. He saluted the dissidents who voiced their opinions courageously, underlining “the danger of a medical practice that includes the administration of death” – but isn’t this already the case, ever since the law on abortion?

Tugdual Derville, who is also the founder of the service SOS Fin de Vie (SOS End of Life) and spokesman for the group Soulager mais pas tuer (Relieve without killing), sponsored by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, rightly denounced the tricks of language used:

In order to get us to swallow the idea of euthanasia, the CESE has invented a formidable Newspeak. They present the administration of death as: a ‘final treatment’, or an ‘ultimate treatment’, or ‘an expressly lethal deep sedation’,

he declared, before concluding, “We have to call things by their names: how can we dare to advocate a ‘treatment’ or ‘deep sedation’ that poisons and kills?”

Has George Orwell’s fiction become a reality? In the novel 1984, the reader learns that

the purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc (the name of the regime in the novel), but to make all other modes of thought impossible.

An Appeal to President Macron

The statement by Alliance Vita ends with an appeal to the President of the French Republic. Madame Viviane Lambert, the mother of Vincent Lambert who has been condemned by the doctors to die of starvation and dehydration, has just appealed to him as well. On Monday, April 10, Emmanuel Macron spoke to the Catholic bishops, assuring them that he wished to build “politics that escape ordinary cynicism.”

How true is this?