Home > Lifestyle > Man > News 02 July 2013 France aims to allow euthanasia Despite a big ethics row, President Francois Hollande has reaffirmed his aim to legalise voluntary euthanasia. 1 iStock Related How we die Physician-assisted suicide programme rarely used How to make the end-of-life experience peaceful Follow us Facebook » Ask CyberShrink » Receive Health tips » Test Your sex toy IQ » All the tests you'll ever need 8 strange things your body does President Francois Hollande reaffirmed his aim to legalise voluntary euthanasia on Monday after a majority of France's national ethics committee advised him not to let doctors help the terminally ill take their lives.Hollande said France would hold a national debate on the issue in coming months and his government would submit a bill in parliament by year's end that would go beyond the current law that bars doctors from providing assisted suicide.Nearby Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland allow voluntary euthanasia in some form and Hollande included a pledge to legalise "medical assistance to end one's life in dignity" among campaign promises for his election last year. Another campaign pledge to allow same-sex marriage prompted several mass protests before it was voted into law in April.Some of its opponents, who have been strongly supported by the Roman Catholic Church, have suggested launching a new wave of street protests against legalised euthanasia.'Step towards human dignity'Asked about the ethics committee's advice while visiting a hospital in the western port town of Lorient, Hollande said his government's proposal "will complete and improve the (current) law which was already a step in the direction of human dignity". That law, passed in 2005, lets doctors end extraordinary means of treatment if terminally ill patients request it and encourages palliative treatments to ease their pain.French public opinion polls show widespread support for legalised euthanasia in late terminal cases. Hospital staff convicted of helping patients die in recent years have often been given suspended sentences in view of this approach.The ethics committee said a majority of its 17 members thought it was "dangerous to society" to legalise assisted suicide because vulnerable patients might see it as a threat that their lives could be ended before their natural deaths.But that majority was slim. Eight members registered the dissenting view that assisted suicide should be legalised to respect the individual choice of ill patients who request it.The board's report said the record of euthanasia policies in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands was not reassuring and there appeared to be little effective monitoring of such cases."These countries legalised euthanasia for patients in the terminal stage who are able to decide for themselves, but in practice the target group has progressively grown broader and been extended to vulnerable groups in society," the report said.In Switzerland, it added, a fifth of patients helped by an assisted suicide association between 1990 and 2000 "did not suffer from any mortal illness".Four states in the United States - Washington, Oregon, Montana and Vermont - also allow assisted suicide.The report, which is not binding, said open debates should be held around France to involve civil society in the decision."The National Ethics Committee wants to have a national debate - that is also my approach," Hollande said. More in Lifestyle Stop hating: Brussels bombing survivor shares his story More: ManNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 1 comment Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Sex US STIs hit all-time high in 2015 Medical Human right-handedness might go back almost 2 million years Mental health Troubled childhood may boost bipolar risk Diet and nutrition Our genes may soon advise our food and lifestyle choices Lifestyle Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Medical Don't believe these asthma myths From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.