France legalises assisted dying for adults with ‘incurable illness’ | World | News

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France legalises assisted dying for adults with ‘incurable illness’ | World | News

France announced last night it is to legalise assisted dying for adults suffering from an “incurable illness”.

The move came as a landmark new poll revealed majority of Britons believe that legalising it for terminally ill people nearing the end of their lives would be safer than the current ban.

French president Emmanuel Macron said that adults with an “incurable illness” will be able to ask for help to die “under strict conditions”.

Speaking to French publications Liberation and La Croix, the head of state said a lethal substance can be prescribed to a patient if they request it under specific conditions.

They can either administer it themselves or take it with the help of another person if needed, if they are “not in control”.

The substance can be requested if the adult is able to ask for it and if their suffering is not able to be relieved. Minors and patients suffering psychiatric or neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, will not be eligible.

Mr Macron went on to say that the bill will be presented in April with a first reading in the National Assembly taking place in May.

Campaigners have now called for UK to step up urgency to get a bill debated here.

More than 10,000 people shared their views in the largest ever survey of UK opinion on assisted dying, commissioned by campaign group Dignity in Dying.

It found 63% agreed that a safeguarded system would be safer than the current law, which leads some desperate individuals to take their own lives in secret or travel to die abroad.

Just 11% feared that changing the law and removing the threat of prosecution would be less safe. The survey results were shared with the Daily Express ahead of a Parliamentary event where supporters will gather tonight.

They also revealed 52% of people would consider going to the assisted dying clinic Dignitas in Switzerland if they were terminally ill.

However, only 28% said they could afford the cost, estimated to be around £15,000.

Over the past two years, the Daily Express Give Us Our Last Rights crusade has shared countless stories of people who have suffered due to the cruel ban on assisted dying.

Together with Dignity in Dying and Dame Esther Rantzen, who has stage-four lung cancer, we are calling for a full Parliamentary debate and free vote for MPs.

Our petition has now collected more than 150,000 signatures.

Sarah Wootton, Dignity in Dying chief executive, said the findings laid bare how “assisted dying sits behind a paywall”.

Writing in the Daily Express today, she says: “The current law is unsafe, it is unfair and it is unequal. As we look to the next general election, it’s becoming increasingly clear that assisted dying will be a key issue that voters want answers on.”

The price tag for travelling to Dignitas has soared by 50% in the past five years, according to campaigners. People who travel there often die earlier than they would otherwise have chosen to, as they must be well enough to make the journey.

Kit Malthouse, Tory MP for North West Hampshire, said: “I know constituents who have been fortunate enough to be able to afford an assisted death in Switzerland. However, for most people, that would be impossible.

“We shouldn’t have a system of ‘business class’ deaths for the wealthy, and prevent dying people who aren’t as well-off from having the death they want. We need a law that gives choice to all terminally ill people in this country, not outsource our compassion to another country.”

Three-quarters of those surveyed by Opinium had experienced the death of a loved one within the past decade. And of those, 43% said that they had suffered while 38% said they had not.

Some 27% believed their loved one would have considered assisted dying, if it were legal, while 47% believed they would not have.

When questioned about end-of-life care they had received, just 16% said it was poor.

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