The bill on the end of life: a step forward after 2 years of waiting

Over the past ten years, the end-of-life issue in France has gone through several significant phases of change, marked by profound societal debates, legislative advances and innovative participatory approaches.

Since the adoption in 2016 of the Claeys-Leonetti law, which introduces deep and continuous sedation while prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide, France has initiated a shift in end-of-life care, seeking to respect patients’ wishes. In 2022, this process was enriched by the creation of the Citizens’ Convention on the End of Life, which promoted collective reflection on autonomy at the end of life and raised the issue of a legislative review.

In 2023, debates on the end-of-life issue continued to intensify, with X a particularly interesting field of influence to observe.

In February 2023, the Citizens’ Convention on the End of Life came out (75%) in favour of opening up active assistance in dying, including under certain conditions for minors (1.2K publications and 7.7K commitments).

In March 2023, 109 personalities signed a manifesto in L’Obs calling for changes to the law on the end of life (123.4K commitments and 298.6K commitments).

In April 2023, Emmanuel Macron received the members of the Citizens’ Convention on the End of Life and announced a bill by the end of 2023 as well as a ten-year strategy on palliative care (123.3K publications and 298.6K commitments).

In June 2023, the Association pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité (ADMD) (Association for the Right to Die with Dignity) initiated a major media event: it launched a conference on the end of life and published an IFOP poll in favour of ‘assisted suicide’.

In November 2023, ADMD is organising a new media campaign to mark World Day for the Right to Die with Dignity. The campaign will appear in over 3.6 million copies of the national and regional daily press.

In December 2023, a preliminary draft bill on the end of life ‘leaked’ into the press and provoked reactions from stakeholders who were in favour of it. The executive announced that the ‘draft bill on the French end-of-life model’ would be presented in February 2024.

And finally, at the beginning of March 2024, Emmanuel Macron announced a bill on the end of life (a fraternity bill). At the end of March, the government sent the bill to the Council of State, thus setting in motion the legislative process for its consideration by Parliament. Examination of the end-of-life bill will begin in the National Assembly on 27 May 2024.

The President’s announcement went particularly viral on X, where 4 communities were particularly mobilised, with the President of the Republic’s account @EmmanuelMacron (9.6M subscribers) receiving the highest number of pledges, from both supporters and opponents of the bill.

The network of the Association pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité (ADMD), with the association’s leaders such as @PhilippeLoheac (4.1K subscribers), @remimarchand (2.1K subscribers), its president @jonathandenis (4, 2K subscribers), not forgetting staunch supporters such as @linerenaud (53.4K subscribers), the association’s patron, who has been particularly effective in preparing ‘public opinion’ for this law, ‘hand in hand’ with the presidential majority.
A second circle of allies was also delighted by Emmanuel Macron’s announcement, with left-wing political leaders such as @sandrousseau (155.5K subscribers) and @JeanLucRomero (62.5K subscribers) as drivers.

The ecosystem of the presidential majority, in particular the National Assembly, with its President @YaelBRAUNPIVET (98K subscribers), the Chairman of the National Assembly’s European Affairs Committee and member of the Renaissance Executive Board @PA_Anglade (21.5K subscribers) and @AlexQuiec (16.7K subscribers), parliamentary assistant to MP Ingrid Dordain, were the main drivers of incoming commitments, after welcoming President Macron’s announcement. The government team naturally spoke out on the subject, with Prime Minister @GabrielAttal (148.9K) and Minister Delegate for Industry and Energy @RolandLescure (41.9K subscribers) among others.

The network close to the Société Française d’Accompagnement et soins palliatifs (SFAP), which is a mix of accounts marked LR (Les Républicains), accounts close to the ‘cathosphere’ and health professionals The main drivers of this cluster are the account of the association @asso_SFAP (5, 3K subscribers), LR accounts such as that of the senator and chairman of the LR group in the Senate @BrunoRetailleau (115K subscribers) and the MP @philippejuvin (42K subscribers), who expressed their anger and preferred increased resources for access to palliative care. A 2nd circle was added to this ecosystem, that of the network of Catholic accounts (especially that of the diocese of Versailles) whose main drivers were @abbegrosjean (48.6K followers) and @LaCroix (79.6K followers). And finally, the main drivers on the healthcare professional side were @jjerbstein54 (1787 subscribers) and the national nurses’ union @infirmierSNPI (10.4K subscribers).

By Youssef Ghafari