Deep sleep, a form of passive euthanasia or assisted suicide, is now a new law in France. On March 17, the majority of the French Parliament voted in favor of allowing doctors to place terminally ill patients in a state of deep sleep until they die.
While voting took place during the session, protesters in the above balconies threw pieces of paper on the parliament floor with slogans saying “no to euthanasia.”
Nonetheless, 436 lawmakers voted in favor of deep sleep, and 34 voted against enacting the ruling. In fact, 96 percent of French citizens are in favor of deep sleep; however, only 88 percent agreed in having the law if doctors were the ones making the decision to administer deep sleep to a patient who is unable to make the decision.
Member of Parliament, Dr. Jean Leonetti assisted in drawing up the new law.
Dr. Leonetti simply described deep sleep as follows.
“Sleep before death to avoid suffering.”
The Guardian reports the deep sleep law will allow terminally ill patients with only days or hours left to live, the right to ask that they be placed under general anesthetic until they die.
The deep sleep law also allows people to make living wills or declarations that are legally binding stating if they are too ill to make a decision, they request no artificial means or measures be used in order to be kept alive.
The main difference between deep sleep and euthanasia is that it is practically impossible to determine the time of death. Some French religious communities against assisted suicide and euthanasia have begun the process of appealing the new deep sleep law.
RT printed this excerpt of an open letter published in Le Monde.
“We are launching a joint appeal, anxious and pressing, so that this possible new law will not in any way violate this basic principle: all human life must be respected particularly at the moment when it is most fragile.”
Some French lawmakers say the new deep sleep law goes too far; whereas other pro-euthanasia supporters state the law does not go far enough for the benefit of terminally ill patients who suffer.
The head of the Right to Die in Dignity association, Jean-Luc Romero expressed his concern to RT,
“Everyone says there is no suffering, but nobody has ever been in that position (near death).”
Deep sleep is just short of assisted suicide and slightly different for euthanasia. However, the actions are similar, in that each result is irreversible and final.
[Featured image courtesy of Remy de la Mauviniere/Associated Press]