What's new since June the third 2014, when I already had the pleasure of addressing your General Assembly ?
You have a new royal princess. We haven't.
Apart from that, London and Paris are both beautiful capitals. One is the temple of Musicals, the other is the temple of gastronomy.
What else ? Well, the reason we are gathered together this Monday afternoon in May.
While the UK is advancing on the - lengthy- legislative process towards active help in dying, France has plunged into the most total hypocrisy.
Instead of legalizing euthanasia, as more than 90% of French people are demanding constantly since over 30 years , we are inventing - once more- the French exception to show how much better and stronger we are than everybody else.
The French president has chosen to lean on a MP from the opposition, who does not suggest giving a lethal product to dying people who would like to die fast, without any suffering. No, what he proposes is to put them to sleep and deprive them of water and food, which is the summit of irony in the country of gastronomy... they are thus allowed to die slowly of hunger and thirst. According to famous medecine professors and to the Catholic church, they do not suffer, they just sleep their way into death, allowing for their families to mourn a little longer and this is not active euthanasia since the suffering body is left to die on its own.
Who are they trying to fool ? The doctor who removes the stomach tubes is perfectly aware of the fact that by doing this, he will cause the death of the patient. He just doesn't know when. Moreover, there have been quite a few scientific reports stating that this deep and continuous sedation causes physical and mental suffering for the sedated patient. And philosophers, as well as witnesses of these sedations, mention how distressed the relatives and the medical teams are. They can only stay around and watch a dying process that may last for days or for weeks even, sometimes more than a month.
What is this country which refuses to listen to the conscious and repeated wish of its citizens at the end of their lives and chooses to plunge them and their relatives into fear and uncertainty ?
This beautiful French exception which the whole world envies us, has been voted nearly unanimously at the National Assembly (Parliament) on March 17th and we can thank Jean Leonetti for having created this infernal machine. It will be presented to the Senate in June.
The goal of ADMD-France is to try and avoid the same voting results in both houses of Parliament. It would mean that in Pantagruel's country the citizens would have no other alternative than dying of hunger and thirst to avoid the qualms of a painful and undignified death. Should it not be the case, the bill would be sent back to the National Assembly in what we call the "parliamentary shuttle" and would be examined once more during 2016. And since the presidential and legislative elections would be coming closer - spring 2017- one will hope for the bill to get lost in the legislative dungeon.
Our members will be asked to mobilize the French senators to bring amendments to the bill. A communication campaign will be launched soon and letters sent to all the senators.
This is the sad reality in France about end-of-life issues. What a difference between us and the country of Shakespeare ?
There is still another possibility for which we are battling as hard as we can : that an amendment legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide should be adopted at the National Assembly. During the first reading, such an amendment was nearly adopted. A majority of MP's was in favor of it. But many of them just didn't bother to come and vote that day. We will therefore campaign for a second reading at the National Assembly and for all MP's to come and vote.
We are also fighting in all our provinces with our 130 local delegates, who interview the local MP's and try to convince them to vote for the legalizing of euthanasia and assisted suicide. We organize public meetings everywhere in presence of MP's. And, in July, for the first time, we will organize an ADMD-Tour across all our country.
Oh, by the way, do you want to find out about some breaking news in France? From June the third 2014 until today our society grew from 55. 500 active members to 63. 000 in less than a year... 12, 000 new members in one year ! Something quite unheard of since we have started to exist.
Not much of a consolation, facing the awful death this government has in store for us. However, we are not giving up and we multiply our actions to conquer our last freedom...
Like for you, it will happen because it is in phase with history.