the argument against a “deadly leap” from a committed lawyer

“I refuse to believe that France is ready to make this deadly leap among all”, writes Erwan Le Morhedec in the introduction to his book, End of life in the Republic (1). This “deadly leap”is the legalization of euthanasia. The workwas born of an electric shock: the vote, on April 8, 2021, by a large majority of deputies, of the first article of the so-called “Falorni” law, establishing medical assistance in dying. “On the morning of April 9, 2021, I understood that I could not wake up one day in a country which would administer death to its patients as a pledge of its compassion without suffering a deep divorce. »

→ MAINTENANCE. “Euthanasia is a commercial law”

Is it because he is a lawyer, precisely? The author signs a plea in the form of a pleading, endeavoring to show ” the shot ” What would legalizing assisted dying mean? “to the French social pact” and its values ​​of liberty, equality, fraternity.

A false freedom

For this, he unravels the pro-euthanasia arguments. France “would be ready”, show the polls, estimating that 93% of French people would like euthanasia to be legalized? Phrase the questions differently and “the evidence fails”, writes the author, specifying that among those who speak out, few really know the provisions of the Claeys-Leonetti law currently governing the end of life. Paralyzed by the emotion of particular tragic cases (like the Vincent Lambert case), faced with a reductive alternative (to die in excruciating pain or quickly), is it so surprising that “we are led to eliminate in the same movement the suffering and the suffering” ?

→ ANALYSIS. Pain at the end of life, a medical challenge

Another unraveled argument: choosing one’s death would be an ultimate freedom? Yet, are we free when we are weakened? When we depend on others? When you have the impression that dying will relieve your family? Are we free when we are in pain? asks the author, whose essay is nourished by meetings with specialists in palliative care. There is ambivalence in the death demands, he recalls. “I want to die”as “I want it to stop”usually mean “I don’t want to suffer anymore” Where “I don’t want to live like this anymore”. He therefore pleads for effective management of this suffering, where end-of-life support is often at stake. Euthanasia is a fantasized freedom and a real violence, writes Erwan Le Morhedec. For the patient (“it will oppress the weakest, the poorest, the most lonely”), relatives, caregivers.

For the development of palliative care

The author then opposes those who believe that legalizing euthanasia would be an egalitarian measure, by no longer reserving medical assistance in dying only for people who can go to Belgium or Switzerland; then to the defenders of a fraternal, compassionate measure. First, because, far from the figures brandished by the associations, only around twenty foreigners will die in Belgium each year.

Then, because the “true demand for equality”, of fraternity, would be to fight for the development of palliative care and their universal access, he pleads. The measure is certainly defended by supporters of assisted dying, who believe that palliative care and euthanasia are not incompatible… Not so simple, for Erwan Le Morhedec, who describes how palliative culture was ” swept “ in some countries that have taken the step of legalization.

The fear of deviations

Above all, the author warns about abuses. He points to the Belgian model, so often cited as an example by French deputies. If the kingdom has set up a commission to control acts of euthanasia, it seems very complacent, we understand from reading. It is as if the instance, supposed to act as a “filter” between doctors and judicial authorities behaved more like a ” shield “.

Well known in Catholic circles for his interventions and his influence on social networks (where he long carried the pseudonym of Koztoujours), Erwan Le Morhedec insists: it is as a citizen that he expresses himself here. “ My arguments borrow nothing from faith., he replies to anyone who would like to reduce him to his convictions. The end of life is simply the debate that probably holds him “at heart with the most consistency, for 25 years”. Euthanasia has nothing to adorn itself with republican colors. “ We have another way to go (…) and it is still possible, he hopes.

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