French parliament readies new end-of-life legislation

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Draft law moves a step closer to euthanasia by giving right to 'deep and ongoing sedation' until death for terminally-ill patients who request it.

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French parliament will debate from January a draft law that would move a step closer to euthanasia by allowing a right to "deep and ongoing sedation" until death for terminally ill patients who request it, President François Hollande said, reports Reuters.

Apart from Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, few countries in the world explicitly permit euthanasia or assisted suicide, sometimes called mercy killings.

Speaking after a report on the matter was made public on Friday, Hollande said current legislation was too focused on the doctor's analysis and did not consider the patient's wishes.

"These proposals are centred on the patients whose suffering should be avoided. It respects their choice and wishes," said Hollande, who has publicly referred on several occasions to the suffering his own aged mother experienced before her death.

Hollande promised before his 2012 election to introduce new right-to-die legislation in France, which left grey areas in a 2005 law on patient rights and care for the terminally ill.

The so-called Leonetti law currently limits therapeutic obstinacy", or treatments that only prolong the life of a terminally ill patient without providing a cure.

Read more of this report from Reuters.

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