“Doesn’t legalizing euthanasia mean abandoning the construction of our collective project? »

HAS Following the citizens’ convention on the end of life, the government has decided to introduce a bill on active istance in dying. Independently of the legal questions posed by this reform, it has social, ethical and medical implications that need to be considered.

Society cannot be considered as the sole coexistence of individual freedoms, which would not impose any obligation on each person vis-à-vis the others. Climate change, epidemics, migration issues are reminders of this every day. The current in favor of legalizing euthanasia and isted suicide, which claims the right to individual autonomy, highlighted in 2020 by the German Federal Constitutional Court, ignores this essential dimension. He claims the mastery of death by the individual, presented as the ultimate freedom. Vulnerability, disability, illness, old age, dependence, which are part of existence, are repressed from this worldview. Care and solicitude find no place there.

This individualistic prism pretends to ignore the effects of the signal sent by the legalization of death on elderly people or those suffering from mental disorders. As if they would not be led to further internalize their rejection by society. This risk is not a figment of the imagination. Already in 2012, Professor Didier Sicard argued that “the economic constraints which will in all cases increase can arouse a feeling of guilt in people with a loss of autonomy which can lead them to formulate a request for euthanasia”. The perception of being a burden for loved ones explains 53% of isted suicide cases in Oregon in 2021 and 36% of euthanasia cases in Canada.

The alibi of distress

In a forum in the “World”, a doctor who had resigned from a Dutch regional euthanasia law enforcement committee shared his experience: “What is seen as a welcome opportunity by those who value their self-determination quickly becomes an incitement to despair for others. » Euthanasia thus becomes the alibi for a distress that we did not want or knew how to prevent. It also has no impact on the number of suicides, which increases where it is legalized. It should also be explained how the legalization of isted suicide can be reconciled with a suicide prevention policy. The Bundestag made no mistake about it, favoring, on July 6, the prevention of suicide over a broadening of the field of isted suicide.

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