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Euthanasia Promoters
Forced To Retreat in France

PARIS, Jan. 26, 2011 (EIRNS)—The promoters of the bill on euthanasia in the French Senate backed down yesterday prior to the debate on the floor, following a strong statement by Prime Minister François Fillon, leader of the majority party UMP, against it. The same day, Health Minister Xavier Bertrand had also rejected the bill in no uncertain terms, announcing that he would be defending the government's opposition to it in the Senate debate. Additional pressure came from the Archbishop of Paris, who denounced the bill, and from right-to-life demonstrators, who ran street theater with Dr. Death and 700 body bags outside the Parliament, to dramatize what was going on.

Before the law was debated and voted on in the evening, Article 1 and its corollaries, which called for open euthanasia, was withdrawn from the bill, by a vote 172-143 on two amendments to repeal it. This is the third in a series of retreats by the Nazi euthanasia lobby over the month of January—the first two being in the United States, and in Germany.

Amendment #1 gave a wide area of decision to physicians, and almost no guarantees to the patient or the family against abuse. It stated "Any person at the age of majority (18), in the advanced or terminal phase of an accidental or pathological disorder that is severe or incurable, inflicting physical or psychic suffering that cannot be relieved or which he or she considers unbearable, can demand to benefit, within the strict conditions envisaged under the present title, from medical assistance to die."

The intervention of the Prime Minister, presaged by an op-ed in Le Monde on Jan. 24th, had a major impact with the UMP majority, as well as the stark clear statements by the Order of Physicians before that, and the intervention by top physician and UMP Deputy Bernard Debré.

In his op-ed, Prime Minister Fillon stated:

"I have never been personally confronted with the terrible experience of accompanying a loved one to the end of life, who is reduced to intolerable suffering and whose medical prognosis is hopeless. ... But the question is find out whether society is able legalize giving the right to cause death. I think that this border must not be crossed!...

"Let us dissipate a misunderstanding. 'Active help to die,' 'medical assistance to die': behind these formulas the question of euthanasia is posed, that is, the act consistent with putting an end to a person's life, and it for each individual, in his conscience, to take the measure of all the consequences. ... The measures envisaged in this text offer none of the necessary guarantees. ... The putting into practice of the act of euthanasia is itself surrounded by vague conditions. The proposed law does not envisage any explicit obligation for consultation, nor of informing the patient's family. ...

"Dangerous to the rights of individuals at the end of life, this envisaged measure would also be for care-givers. These would find themselves, in effect, faced with the uncertainty of a heavy criminal risk. The National Council of the Order of Physicians, moreover, expressed its rejections of this proposed law. ...

"For myself personally, I am hostile to the legalization of actively aiding death; that is not my conception of the respect for human life and of the values on which our society is founded."