Caregivers Strongly Opposed to Euthanasia Law



While the end-of-life bill was presented to the Council of Ministers this Wednesday, April 10, the results of a new survey by the French Society for Support and Palliative Care (SFAP) have just been revealed.

The results show a strong reluctance regarding a law which would have deleterious effects on the practice of palliative care. The consultation was carried out between the end of February and mid-March 2024.
A Great Concern

83% of the volunteers, nurses, and doctors questioned said they were “concerned” by the bill on euthanasia and assisted suicide. In addition, 63% are rather “dissatisfied” with a change in the law. A feeling of worry dominates, whatever the generation, even if young people have a slightly less “negative” perception.

Thus some indicate that their “job will be distorted, and [that they will] find themselves in very difficult human and ethical situations.” The concern is very marked among palliative care doctors who are on the “front line.” The average of their responses does not exceed 2, on a scale ranging from 1 (very worried) to 9 (very relieved).
Causing Death is “Unacceptable”

Asked about the evolution of the current legislative framework, 68% of SFAP members (43% of non-members) say they view a change unfavorably. However, there is a significant gap between professions: 67% of doctors are opposed to a change compared to 47% of nurses and managers.

54% of doctors and 33% of nurses and health executives expressed their opposition to the legislation on assisted suicide with the exception of euthanasia. Opposition is stronger when faced with assisted suicide and euthanasia together. It concerns 75% of doctors and 53% of nurses.

A very large proportion of respondents are opposed to carrying out acts of euthanasia or assisted suicide. More than 80% of caregivers who are members of the SFAP indicate that they would refuse to prescribe, supply, prepare, and/or administer the lethal product. However, unlike certain countries, such as Switzerland, where caregivers are prohibited from participating in assisted suicide, the bill provides for the participation of medical personnel throughout “assisted dying.”

Once the person has died, 44% of SFAP members say they do not want to record a death by assisted suicide or euthanasia, and 49% are opposed to compiling the medical file.
The Conscience Clause

While the bill provides for the existence of a conscience clause, 52% of doctors, 51% of nurses, and 22% of other professions indicate that they will use this conscience clause. 32% of doctors and 19% of nurses and healthcare executives also said they were worried about the “strength” of the conscience clause, and did not feel protected by this clause.

The responses also show the fear that these conscience clauses will not be respected, or that the legislator will want to reconsider them, for example the conscience clause for abortion.

The study overall shows great apprehension of the consequences of the law. Only 13% of doctors and 14% of nurses say they are ready to integrate legislative developments into their professional practice. A significant proportion of caregivers: 22% of doctors, 17% of nurses and managers say they are ready to resign from their position if the law is adopted.

The impact of the bill on their practices is underlined by almost all of those surveyed (92%). 68% of doctors, 57% of nurses, and 45% of other professions believe that there is a risk of division or tension in teams. 47% of doctors and 38% of nurses even consider that there is a risk of resignation in their teams.

“Induced death will be a disruptive element in the healthcare system,” warns the president of the SFAP. “Suggesting death or acceding to the idea that they [the sick] are right to think that it would be better for them to die is contrary to the whole spirit of our daily commitment to these people where we dedicated to supporting the desire for life,” recalls one of the respondents.

Palliative care already suffers from a lack of professionals. Contrary to the government's stated desire to strengthen palliative care, the bill risks weakening it even further. “The debate is also anxiety-provoking and we have the impression of not being heard enough,” denounces the president of the SFAP.
Related Article:

    France: 800,000 Caregivers Express Their Refusal of Euthanasia

(Source : Gènéthique – FSSPX.Actualités)
Illustration : Photo 32870974 © Robert Kneschke |