French president Francois Hollande reaffirmed his plan Monday to allow voluntary euthanasia. Hollande stated that his government would submit a bill to the parliament by the end of the year that would change the current law forbidding doctors from providing assisted suicide. According to Reuters, his statement took place after most of France’s national ethics committee counseled him to do the exact opposite.
Last year, Hollande made a campaign pledge to legalize “medical assistance to end one’s life in dignity.” He also promised to allow same-sex marriage, which was voted into law in April. Hollande said that the government’s euthanasia proposal “will complete and improve the (current) law which was already a step in the direction of human dignity.” The law he refers to was passed in 2005 and allows doctors to end extraordinary means of treatment if requested by terminally ill patients.
The ethics committee stated that a majority of its 17 members thought that legalizing assisted suicide was “dangerous to society,” but that majority was razor-thin; 8 of the members supported legalization.
The board’s report was skeptical of the euthanasia policies in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
“These countries legalized euthanasia for patients in the terminal stage who are able to decide for themselves, but in practice the target group has progressively grown broader and been extended to vulnerable groups in society,” the report said.
Debates will be held nationally to discuss the bill. Opponents, including those supported by the Roman Catholic Church, may stage street protests to argue the policy.
“The National Ethics Committee wants to have a national debate – that is also my approach,” said Hollande.
After increasing access to abortions by effectively granting full reimbursement for medical costs, and fulfilling his promise to legalize same-sex marriage in April, Hollande’s latest move is no surprise. The French socialist gets a lot of attention for his disastrous economic policies. But he’s also a full-blown, pro-death social liberal.