French Senate rejects bill allowing euthanasia on demand

PARIS (CNS) — The French Senate has rejected legislation that would have permitted any adult to request a “quick and painless death.”

Under the draft Bioethics Law amendment, French citizens would have been entitled to seek medical help to die when “in a terminal state, or with a serious and incurable illness causing physical or psychological pain.”

The right would have applied when the pain “cannot be alleviated or is considered unbearable,” enabling doctors to bring about the patient’s death “as the outcome of a deliberate act.”

During the Senate’s Jan. 26 debate on the amendment, Catholic pro-life groups conducted a vigil and protest, during which about 700 people pretended to be dead.

In a Jan. 25 letter to Senate members, the spokesman for the French bishops’ conference, Msgr. Bernard Podvin, said the idea of “relentless therapy” for the dying repelled French people, but added that “things affecting the most intimate, ultimate and sacred sphere and existential vulnerabilities” should not be legislated on. Several bishops spoke against the legislation and urged Catholics to write to their senators.

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