"Ambiguities" Seen in End-of-Life Law

PARIS, APRIL 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- France’s bishops have asked the authorities to clarify the “ambiguities” of a law that establishes the right “to allow to die.”

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A statement signed by Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, president of the French episcopal conference, explained that the legislative text “provides, on one hand, juridical recognition of the right of all patients to reject treatments, including care proposed to them, if this is really their will, and, on the other, the legitimacy to put an end to treatments that have become inappropriate.”

“Although these objectives are acceptable, ambiguities remain, however, that are necessary to eliminate,” said the text of the archbishop of Bordeaux.

“Much will depend on the way that this law is interpreted and applied by the doctors,” the statement said. “Therefore, it is hoped that the competent authorities will see to it that rules of an appropriate medical practice are established in such delicate matters.”

When presenting the law on Wednesday, Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said: “While I am minister, I will reject euthanasia.” When the law was voted on, the Socialist and Communist Senators left the chamber in sign of protest.

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