- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 13, 2014

New plans unveiled Friday could allow French doctors to put terminally ill patients into a deep sleep until they die.

The French parliament will debate the issue in a new draft law, according to The Telegraph.

So far only Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland explicitly permit euthanasia or assisted suicide.

A 2005 French law already allows “passive euthanasia,” where a person causes death by withholding or withdrawing treatment that is necessary to maintain life, but the new proposal takes the idea further.

The proposals by two MPs — one from the ruling Socialists, the other from the opposition UMP — allow doctors to combine passive euthanasia with “deep and continuous sedation” for terminally ill patients who are conscious and whose treatment is not working or for those who decide to stop taking medication, The Telegraph reported Friday.

But patients who are incapable of making the decision in certain circumstances could also be put under, The Telegraph said.

French President Francois Hollande pledged in his 2012 campaign to delve deeper into the controversial issue and is backing a law to force doctors to follow end-of-life instructions written in advanced, if patients are no longer able to communicate their will.

Mr. Hollande said Friday that a parliamentary debate on the issue would be held in January, and a bill would be passed shortly after.

The issue has pitted those who believe in the sanctity of life against people who believe terminally ill patients should be able to end their suffering.

The issue recently became a hot topic in the U.S. when terminal brain cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, publicly announced that she would end her own life “when the time seemed right,” and championed the “death with dignity” movement.

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