the citizens’ convention is struggling to refine its positions on “active assistance in dying”

A hiccup and several unknowns. Sunday March 19 was to be “a crucial day”, according to its organizers, for the citizens’ convention on the end of life. The 184 members of the Convention had to vote on their final answers to the question posed by Elisabeth Borne, the Prime Minister: “Is the end-of-life support framework adapted to the different situations encountered or should any changes be introduced? » A ” Technical problem “, according to Claire Thoury, president of the governance committee, however distorted the results of part of the polls. Canceled, nineteen of them will be reorganized on the weekend of March 31 to April 2. During this final session, the Convention members will also have to give their opinion to the Prime Minister.

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On Sunday, the approximately 168 voters present in the hemicycle of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council participated in 119 votes which related to the proposals for access to the course of “active assistance in dying”. On this occasion, 75.6% of citizens answered yes to being open to this aid; 23.2% answered no; 1.2% abstained. A month after the first vote, on February 19, on the same question, abstentions have dropped and opponents of “active assistance in dying” have increased slightly. They were then 19%.

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Mostly favorable on the principle, the convention is far from being unanimous on its methods. Access to assisted suicide as the sole option garners more votes (9.8%) than euthanasia alone (3.1%). Access to assisted suicide with the exception of euthanasia obtains 28.2%. The votes do “appear a majority in favor of assisted suicide”, believes Ms. Thoury. However, the combination of “assisted suicide and euthanasia of choice” totaled 39.9% of the votes. This leads some participants to consider that this formula “gathers broad support”underlines Nathalie B., one of the conventional, favorable to the opening to the two processes.

“A problem of method”

In the wake of the 119 votes, a poll was organized to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 – on a special voting device – nineteen “models” of access to assisted suicide and/or euthanasia, taking account of various criteria (discernment of the patient, vital prognosis in the short or long term, openness to minors, refractory physical or psychological suffering). Key 6 on the box corresponded to a vote against “active assistance in dying” and key 7 to “abstention”. Instead of excluding votes 6 and 7, the calculation of the results added up all the points. What distorted the averages and the reliability of the “color chart” wanted.

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