expanded access voted on in committee at the National Assembly

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Health Minister Catherine Vautrin and the president of the special parliamentary committee, Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, at the National Assembly, April 22, 2024. JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

Final step before the start of the discussion in public session – at the National Assembly on May 27 – the examination of the bill on support for the sick and the end of life, from May 13 to 17, in special committee , has revealed fault lines within the majority between supporters of respect at all costs for” balance “ initial of the text and the followers of an evolution. The latter voted, with the left, to rewrite several key provisions.

Certainly, the government was able to congratulate itself on the fact that the committee adopted, on Saturday May 18 just after midnight, the twenty-one articles of the bill. Among the seventy-one deputies, sitting in proportion to each political group, only those of the National Rally (RN) and the Republicans (LR) did not vote for it. The RN and LR have attacked “assisted dying” as a “anthropological rupture”, And led a semantic guerrilla war so that the words “assisted suicide” and “euthanasia” appear in black and white in the text. In vain.

Another subject of satisfaction for the executive: the favorable vote of the Socialist Party (PS), ecologists and La France insoumise (LFI), a good omen for building a majority in session. But this support from the left for the bill was accompanied by attempts to relax the conditions “strict” wanted by the executive, so that an incurable patient can resort to a lethal gesture. The left led this offensive all the more because it identified the flaws in the text and its weaknesses.

“We are no longer under the same law at all”

The Minister of Health, Catherine Vautrin, present during almost all of the commission’s work, thus witnessed helplessly an unexpected alliance between the left and the general rapporteur of the text, Olivier Falorni, deputy (Democrats) of Charente-Maritime , to bring down a key provision of the text: the obligation for a patient who requests “assisted dying” to have “a vital prognosis committed in the short or medium term”, in addition to four other criteria. This condition is criticized by most caregivers, including the medical profession, who consider it impossible to predict, without risk of error or litigation, the end of a patient’s existence, even if he or she is seriously ill.

In place of this provision, Mr. Falorni voted for the amendment defended by Stéphane Delautrette, MP (PS) for Haute-Vienne, which proposes replacing the condition of “short or medium term vital prognosis” by that of the disease “in advanced or terminal phase”. Amendment adopted.

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