- Title: FRANCE-EUTHANASIA/VOTE French parliament passes "deep sleep" bill for end of life
- Date: 17th March 2015
- Summary: VILLEJUIF, FRANCE (MARCH 4, 2015) (REUTERS) HEAD OF THE PALLIATIVE CARE UNIT AT PAUL BROUSSE HOSPITAL DOCTOR STEPHANE MERCIER ENTERING PATIENT ROOM PATIENT IN BED MERCIER BESIDE PATIENT'S BED PARIS, FRANCE (MARCH 17, 2015) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SIGN READING (French) : "NATIONAL ASSEMBLY"
- Embargoed: 1st April 2015 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAA1XWE4QWUTUMHXABB8UU0FMYM
- Story Text: It is to help those who's life is drawing to a close that France's lower house of parliament passed a bill on Tuesday (March 17) which allows patients near the end of their lives to stop medical treatment and request deep sedation until they die, a move that critics say is effectively a form of euthanasia.
The draft law, which polls show is backed by most French, passed in the lower house of parliament with 436 members voting in favour, 34 against.
It is expected to get the final approval from the upper house in May or June.
Jean Leonetti, a centre-right lawmaker and doctor who authored the law, told Reuters it would keep the same spirit as the laws already in place but would give more decision-making power to those concerned, those who are dying.
"It doesn't change the big principles and at the same time it gives much more autonomy, much more freedom, much more decision-making power to the one who is the most vulnerable, the one who is dying. So I think we maintain the spirit of the previous laws but it (the new law) can strongly change the situation of those dying in France," Leonetti said.
The government is defying critics that range from religious leaders to medical professors and pro-life advocates who argue the new bill ushers in a form of euthanasia in disguise.
Allowing doctors to put patients within "hours or days" of their death under deep sedation until they die, as the law foresees, differs only from euthanasia in that precise time of death cannot be determined, they argue.
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