France and Latvia both reject euthanasia

An attempt to push for a bill that would legalise euthanasia in France has failed after the French parliament delayed the proposal to the point where a vote on the bill was impossible. Furthermore, after engaging in a long debate, Latvia have also rejected a petition that called for legalising euthanasia.

According to Bioethics, Olivier Falorni, a deputy for the parliamentary splinter group Libertes et Territoires (“Freedom and Territories”) proposed the bill as a personal initiative, to prevent French residents from having to travel to other counties, such as Belgium or Switzerland, for assisted suicide. He also claimed that doctors are secretly performing 2,000-4,000 euthanasia in France every year.

In response to the proposal, opponents of the bill filed approximately 3,000 amendments before the debate, thus slowing down the process and making the vote impossible.

Although neither President Emanuel Macron, nor his government, had not taken a side for the bill, the President had stated in 2017: “I myself wish to choose the end of my life.”

Additionally, after being presented with a public petition to make euthanasia legal in Latvia, the Latvian Parliament voted to reject this petition, with 49 votes to reject, and 38 votes to support. Opponents of euthanasia have stressed that the country's palliative care system needs to be fully supported and available to citizens especially the most vulnerable. 

Deputy Vitālijs Orloves, who is a doctor, declared in the debate: “I was taught to fight for patients' lives to the end. I cannot imagine injecting a person with some substance to help them die – not for any amount of money.”

The rejection of euthanasia in both France and Latvia set an example to the rest of the world, particularly as the need to reject euthanasia is becoming more necessary. Right to Life UK recently reported on an Irish study on ageing, which discovered that of the 3.5% of over 50's who reported a wish to die, “Seventy-two per cent of these participants no longer reported a wish to die when reassessed 2 years later”.

Given that the wish to die is only a temporary feeling, it is clear that countries must avoid the legalisation of euthanasia, where the option to die results in a permanent outcome. Instead, countries must uphold the dignity and value of their people by ensuring that they are treated with appropriate and compassionate care.

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