France’s Macron announces plans for assisted dying bill

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans for a bill to legalize medical assistance for adults suffering from a terminal illness and facing imminent death.

Macron told the newspaper La Croix and Liberation that the new law legalizing “aid in dying” under certain conditions would only apply to people over the age of 18.

Prime Minister Gabriel Atal wrote on Twitter on Monday that the bill would be introduced in parliament on May 27. “Death can no longer be a taboo issue and a subject of silence,” he wrote in French.

Proposed legislation to give people humane choices in death

The aim of the law, Macron said, is to “provide a possible path, with precise criteria, in a given situation, where medical judgment is playing its role.” He cited the example of people suffering from terminal cancer, some of whom had traveled elsewhere to seek assistance in dying.

Macron said the bill would apply to adults who are fully capable of making decisions and also to those facing “incurable” physical or psychological pain and death in the “short or medium term”.

Minors and patients suffering from psychiatric or neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s will not be eligible.

Macron clarified that the law would refer to “assistance in dying … because it is simple and humane” rather than terms such as euthanasia or medically assisted suicide.

The proposed draft law follows a report last year that indicated a majority of French citizens support legalizing end-of-life options.