Protestants in France join debate as Macron backs liberalization of euthanasia law, Evangelical Focus


Protestant organizations in France have responded to the open debate over new legislation on medical assistance in dying.

A 60 page report speak National Ethics Advisory Committee published on September 13 supports a new law but expresses the need to “strengthen public health measures in the field of palliative care”.

The report launched a debate for revise the French law on euthanasia (known as Claeys-Leonetti), who died in 2016 but that President Emmanuel Macron considers ineffective. The government opened a six-month period civil conversation (as with the recent bioethics law). Macron said he foresees a “possible change in the legal framework by the end of 2023”. According to the Euractiv news site, President Macron declared himself “favorable” to the Belgian model, which makes it possible to end a ‘life when there is’constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering‘ and when there is a ‘dead end medical situation’.

Left-wing groups have called for a liberalization of the law, with the parliamentarian Olivier Falorni at the head of the initiativeciting the example of neighboring Spain, which passed the euthanasia law in 2021.

In the Protestant context, at least two organizations have joined in the debate. The Protestant Federation of France (FPF), an umbrella organization representing both the mainline Protestant churches and some free evangelical churches, said he welcomed “a great national debate” on the “complex question”.

The FPF notes “the CCNE’s encouragement to deploy the public health measures necessary for the development of palliative care” and also underlines “the reservations expressed by eight CCNE members”, who “fear that, in absence of a real evaluation of the effects of the Leonetti-Clayes law and faced with the inadequacy of the resources currently allocated to the development of palliative care, the proposed legislative amendment is mainly motivated by economic or ideological reasons”.

The FPF, which brings together churches and groups with both more liberal and more conservative approaches to theological and ethical questions, openly concludes its statement with these four points: “God is the origin of all life (…) Life is a gift (…) Finitude is a structuring element of the human condition (…) and fraternal compassion with the most vulnerable”.

The reaction of Protestant Evangelical Committee for Human Dignity (CPDH, in French), was stronger. Responding to the National Ethics Committee, the Protestant group deplored that, in recent years, “everything has been done to align CCNE’s ethical positions with political demands at the end of life. Change of CCNE members, appointment of more conciliatory members”, among others.

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– Protestants in France join debate as Macron backs liberalization of euthanasia law


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