In their first indicative ballot, members of the Citizens’ Jury on assisted dying in France voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising assisted dying. Almost 75% of participants voted in favour of the principle of assisted dying being available. 66% voted in favour of allowing a healthcare professional to end a life. 45% voted for the criteria to extend to people intolerably suffering from an incurable condition, 20% voted for the criteria to be limited to people whose death is foreseeable in the short or medium term, and 35% abstained.
There are three more sessions of the citizens’ jury before they submit their final proposals to the French government on the 19th of March.
French President Emmanuel has said he hopes to introduce a new legal framework on assisted dying by the end of 2023. He has not yet ruled out a parliamentary vote or a referendum on the jury’s propositions.
Run by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) the ‘Convention Citoyenne’ is made up of 185 French citizens who are representative of the general population. Over the course of 9 sessions, the participants listen to speakers, discuss research, debate, and vote on a series of questions about end-of-life choices.
My Death, My Decision Chair Trevor Moore said:
“While we await the outcome of the inquiry on assisted dying by the Health and Social Care Committee at Westminster, the citizens’ assembly in France is pointing the way for a balanced approach to addressing this profound issue. After all, the debate among many politicians is polarised, so an assembly whose decisions will reflect the will of the public at large seems a neat way to absolve them from responsibility.
England and Wales are encircled by progress in Scotland, Jersey and the Isle of Man and being left behind by increasing numbers of countries that allow assisted dying in wider Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. It’s time for us to stop wavering and proceed to a compassionate law that allows choice for the terminally ill and those suffering unbearably from incurable conditions.”
You can read the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE)’s full press release here: https://lecese.fr/actualites/convention-citoyenne-cese-sur-la-fin-de-vie-les-citoyens-votent-des-premieres-orientations
For further comment or information, media should contact Nathan Stilwell at nathan.stilwell@mydeath-
My Death, My Decision is a grassroots non-profit organisation that campaigns for a balanced and compassionate approach to assisted dying in England and Wales. As a growing movement, we are at the forefront of social change: nearly 90% of the public now favours a change in the law to allow adults of sound mind, who are either terminally ill or facing incurable suffering, the option of a peaceful, painless, and dignified death.