Should people at the end of life who ask for it be helped to die? For several years, under the influence of advances in medicine, and also the desire of our fellow citizens to control their lives from start to finish, this social debate has come up regularly. It should be the subject of a new law this year. To shed light on these issues, La Croix is publishing a book this week (1), based on contributions published in our “Alive” space. It is the number 1 of a new collection whose vocation is to fuel the exchange of ideas and to allow the expression of pluralism in our society, beyond postures and fractures.
The question of the end of life is indeed vertiginous, if one thinks that hitherto assisted suicide or euthanasia were liable to serious criminal prosecution. In September 2022, President Emmanuel Macron announced the launch of a citizens’ convention on the end of life, and a few days later, the opinion of the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) admitted, for the first time, the possibility of legal access to assisted suicide. Parliament will take up the issue in 2023, after the conclusions of the Convention.
This debate concerns us all, because it touches the intimate, our parents, our friends. He pushes everyone to their limits. But the end of life is also a social issue: dying well is a right, or at least it should be. Talking about it also has the merit of revealing the glaring lack of palliative care structures in our country.
For La Croix, these questions involve the very foundations of our society and raise formidable challenges. Aware of the great diversity of convictions, including within the Christian world, we gave the floor to a series of personalities: caregivers, philosophers, palliative care volunteers, theologians, politicians, writers , sociologists. Together they represent a wide range of opinions, but the rule of the game is to avoid condemnations and simplifications.
We have brought together a dozen of these contributions, from that of the writer Alexis Jenni to the sociologist Philippe Portier, via doctors and scientists such as Alexis Burnod or Jacques Testart. They allow us to grasp the complexity of these subjects. This book wants to maintain a citizen debate, beyond simplifications between entrenched camps. Because even if La Croix comes out on its side without ambiguity against an openness to active assistance in dying, on the end of life there is no binary confrontation that is worthwhile. With this new editorial object, La Croix and its “Alive” debate center want to participate fully in the exchange of opinions and ideas. A democratic health tool.
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