President Emmanuel Macron announced he will launch a citizens’ assembly on assisted dying. The French President showed his support for assisted dying while campaigning in the presidential election. A journalist’s microphone picked up on the President telling a woman who asked him that he would support having the Belgium model of assisted dying in France. Humanists UK has welcomed the news, and called for the UK Parliament or Government to follow in France’s footsteps.
Belgium legalised assisted dying in 2002 by allowing it for adults who experience ‘constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated’. This is broadly similar to the law that Humanists UK is advocating for, along with the Assisted Dying Coalition.
In 2021, a citizens’ jury on the island of Jersey overwhelmingly supported the introduction of assisted legislation, with 78% voting in favour. This led to Jersey’s States Assembly approving assisted dying ‘in principle’ and official legislation is expected to be introduced in 2023.
The Scottish Parliament has just released a report showing strong support for assisted dying. 78% of the respondents to a consultation in 2021 supported a proposed Assisted Dying Bill by Liam McArthur MSP.
Macron will announce more details about the proposed ‘convention citoyenne’ on Tuesday 13th September. According to France Info, Macron told Jean-Luc Romero, honorary President of the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity ( l’Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité – ADMD), that he is committed to passing an assisted law before the end of 2023.
Humanists UK Assisted Dying Campaigner Nathan Stilwell said:
‘Over 370 million people worldwide now have access to a compassionate assisted dying law and France looks poised to join them. The UK Parliament seems to be falling behind the times. We believe that individuals deserve a choice over their own bodies and the end of their lives.
‘There hasn’t been an inquiry on assisted dying in England and Wales since 2004. Since then, so much has changed, from medical opinion to the international context. It’s time for Parliament to examine this important issue again.’
For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at email@example.com or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.
Read more about our campaign to legalise assisted dying in the UK.
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.