Internal accusations of manipulation of the debate at the Citizens' Convention on the end of life

end of life

On February 19, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) published the results of the votes of the Citizens' Convention on the End of Life, a publication which suggested that its members were in favor of euthanasia and suicide. attended. On March 3, Le Figaro revealed the content of a letter from about forty members denouncing misinformation and even worrying about possible manipulation.

The information had made the rounds of the media, the Citizens' Convention had come out in favor of active assistance in dying, under conditions, without these being specified. This information was biased, according to more than forty citizens who represent nearly a quarter of the 184 members of the convention.

On the very day of the vote, the EESC had indicated on its website the results of the votes concerning 11 questions, which suggested a outcome very favorable to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The 167 citizens present for the vote thus voted largely no on the question of whether the end-of-life support framework responds to the different situations encountered, 140 apparently saying they believe that this was not the case. 125 of them said they were in favor of active assistance in dying, 107 for such assistance for adults and minors or 118 in favor of assisted suicide "with condition(s)". 

In a letter addressed to the governance committee of the Citizens' Convention and to its president, Claire Thoury, member of the EESC, the forty participants criticized the operation of this convention wanted by Emmanuel Macron. The document, of which Le Figaro has published extracts, insists that it "was a vote on ideas and not on the precise writing of proposals". 

No real will in favor of the development of palliative care

Other indices strongly suggest a programmed lack of interest in the question of specialized centres. Thus, while some participants asked to hear the lawyer Erwan Le Morhedec, author of Fin de vie en République (editions du Cerf) and in favor of strengthening palliative care, their request remained a dead letter. 

Is the development of palliative care not an option seriously considered by the ESEC and, beyond that, the political power? Several members of the Convention unsuccessfully asked to be able to make a group visit to a palliative care center and had to go there by themselves or in small groups. 

Soline underlines with bitterness that "it was very hard to hear in the media that the citizens had decided on active assistance in dying when the work is not finished", and denounces a manipulation of the objectives: "We find ourselves to bear the brunt of responsibility for changing the law but that is not the job we were given. She also denounces the deliberate confusion between the supporters of an evolution of the legal framework on the end of life and those of an openness to active assistance in dying.

While 140 citizens answered in the negative to the question "Does the end-of-life support framework respond to the different situations encountered?" ", the answers could only be misinterpreted, explains Volcy: "We asked for the question to be clarified, which we were refused: for a whole host of reasons, it is difficult to argue that an existing framework constitutes a perfect answer to all situations, so one could only answer no to this question. This citizen was in favor of active assistance in dying, but does not want it to be presented "as a solution" and not "as a possibility left open".

Other citizens in favor of active assistance in dying are asking questions that the EESC does not take into account. One participant goes on to declare: “At times, I have the impression that it is manipulation. »

The Convention will still meet every weekend until March 19. It will then vote on its proposals which will be transmitted to the government.

Jean Sarpedon

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