French euthanasia bill on hold as Macron calls ‘snap election’

Macron French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, exit a polling booth adorned with curtains displaying the colors of the flag of France before casting their ballot for the European Parliament election at a polling station in Le Touquet, northern France, on June 9, 2024. | Credit: HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

France’s controversial euthanasia bill has been put on hold following French President Emmanuel Macron’s dissolution of the country’s National Assembly after major losses in this month’s European elections.

The June elections in the European Parliament saw major advances from right-of-center parties, including from France’s National Rally party, which made huge gains relative to Macron’s Renaissance party.

Centrist groups still command a majority in the continental parliament. But the results were devastating enough to mainstream politicians that Macron invoked French law to dissolve his own country’s National Assembly in order to hold “snap elections” in the hopes of shoring up centrist control of France itself.

The surprise move means all legislation currently under consideration in France has been put on hold, including the country’s controversial assisted suicide bill, which Macron earlier this year said might allow “the possibility of asking for help in dying under certain strict conditions.”

The French bishops had criticized the country’s efforts to legalize assisted suicide. Reims Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort said earlier this year that the measure would “shift our entire health care system toward death as a solution.”

Lille Archbishop Laurent Le Boulc’h likewise warned that assisted suicide could hasten the death of individuals who see themselves as burdens upon others, arguing that the proposal risks “further increasing the depressed character of our society in loss of hope.”

Numerous European countries, including Belgium and the Netherlands, already allow various forms of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

France’s surprise parliamentary elections will be held in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.

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