As the work of the special committee responsible for preparing the examination at first reading in the National Assembly, from May 27, of the bill relating to the support of the sick and the end of life begins on Monday, the Philosopher Elisabeth Badinter insisted, in a letter published on Sunday April 21 by La Tribune, that her husband, the former Minister of Justice Robert Badinter, would have voted for the text.

In this missive addressed to Olivier Falorni, the deputy (MoDem and Independents) of Charente-Maritime, appointed to the post of general rapporteur, Ms. Badinter denies the argument of the opponents of the text, who cite in particular a sentence from her late husband pronounced on September 16, 2008 before a mission on the end of life at the National Assembly: “No one can take life from others in a democracy. »

“I was able to see that my husband’s words were used, not to say exploited, by opponents of any legislative development on this subject,” she writes, adding: “My husband has never assimilated aid in dying and death penalty (…). If he had been a parliamentarian, Robert Badinter would have supported this text. To pretend otherwise would be a betrayal of his thoughts and his memory. »

“The conviction that a move towards active assistance in dying was acceptable”

Regarding this statement made by Robert Badinter in 2008, the philosopher insists: “It was in 2008, sixteen years ago now. The characteristic of human thought is being able to question itself, it is wanting to move forward, it is knowing how to evolve. (…) Robert Badinter was one of those men who refused to be locked into certainties, especially on an issue as complex and sensitive as that of the end of life. »

And to continue: “He had also personally told you [Ms Badinter addresses Mr Falorni] when he received you on November 10, 2021 (…). He reiterated his position in my presence (…) in September 2023. While the parliamentary debate on the end of life has now been launched, I would like to strongly affirm it. (…) My husband has formed over the years the conviction that a move towards active assisted dying was acceptable and even desirable in certain circumstances and under conditions precisely defined by law. »

The bill opens, under strict conditions, the possibility of assisted suicide for certain patients at the end of their life, and, when they are incapable of carrying out the fatal gesture, to do it for them. The very principle of this “assisted death” – a term preferred to “assisted suicide” or “euthanasia” – but also the practical modalities of its implementation, promise intense parliamentary debates.

According to the text presented to the Council of Ministers on April 10, assistance in dying will be reserved for adult patients, born in France or residing in the country for a long time, and able to clearly express their wishes. The text “excludes psychiatric illnesses”, notably specified the Minister of Labor, Health and Solidarity, Catherine Vautrin. The person concerned must also experience suffering, physical or psychological, intolerable and impossible to treat. Finally, the “vital prognosis” must be undertaken in the short or medium term.

The responsibility of caregivers will be central. Once a patient requests assisted suicide, it will be up to a doctor to decide after a procedure giving him up to fifteen days. He will do it alone, even if he will have to consult another doctor and a nurse. In other words, it will not be a “collegial” decision, contrary to what Emmanuel Macron announced in March.