They are actors, journalists, artists, doctors and even politicians. All signed “The manifesto of 109 to change the law”, a column published in The Obs this Wednesday to call on President Emmanuel Macron to change the law on the end of life. Journalist Laure Adler, actress Nathalie Baye, former footballer Éric Cantona, mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, director Christophe Honoré and doctor Martin Winckler are among the signatories.
“Each year, French men and women suffering from serious and incurable illnesses are confronted with physical and moral suffering that treatments can no longer relieve. They ask their doctor to help them die and meet with a refusal, condemned to suffer a long and painful end of life, in contradiction with their free and considered will,” they write. Every year, French men and women “go abroad to be able to die there”.
The end of the work of the citizens’ convention scheduled for April 2
These women and men “are not alone. We are their spouses, their children, their brothers, their sisters, their families, their friends”, they continue, believing that “French law, which prohibits active assistance in dying, is unjust”. “This is why today we call on the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, as well as parliamentarians to take the measure of these tragedies and to reform the law”, they write again, inviting to sign their manifesto on the “Change.org” platform.
Emmanuel Macron initiated a process after his re-election which could ultimately lead to a change in the law, but remained very cautious about his personal position. It has set up a consultative convention of citizens drawn by lot. Its 180 or so members voted overwhelmingly in favor of changing the law in the direction of “active assistance in dying” in a vote in February, which was only preliminary, however.
Emmanuel Macron must receive the members of the convention quickly after the end of their work scheduled for April 2. He will then lay “the foundations of a timetable” and will determine “the conditions for modifying the law”, explained government spokesman Olivier Véran at the end of February, declaring that this process would “probably” lead to a new law. Since 2016, the so-called Claeys-Leonetti law has made it possible to go as far as “deep and continuous sedation” of certain patients until their death, without however making it possible to actively cause their death or to give them the means to do so.