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French presidential campaign and the "Right to die" issue

By Johnny Summerton
Posted Mar 7, 2012 in Health
"L'Association pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité (ADMD)" in France has launched a campaign to persuade some of the French presidential candidates to rethink their positions on euthanasia.
In what the French media is describing as a campaign meant to shock, the association uses retouched images of three presidential candidates, all of whom are opposed to legislation which would, in the words of ADMD, "allow active assistance to those who wish to die".
François Bayrou, Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Sarkozy are all featured, ill in hospital beds and each of them is asked the question, "Do we have to put you in such a position to change your views on euthanasia."
For the association showing each of the three candidates in a position in which they were clearly suffering would "force them to reflect on the important issue of individual freedom" - in other words the right to decide.
While the images are definitely striking, the campaign is not one meant to shock but to change the opinion of the three candidates on the issue of the right to die, according to the president of ADMD, Jean-Luc Romero.
"We're all going to die at some point, but sometimes politicians behave as though they don't know that," he told RTL radio.
"There are millions of French who are regularly confronted with seeing someone in a hospital bed and they don't find it shocking," he continued.
"We wanted to choose the three candidates who were quite adamant that they were against introducing legislation that would allow people to die with dignity."
The campaign is part of an attempt by ADMD to raise an issue, which as far as Romero is concerned, has its place as part of the presidential debate.
At the end of the month the association will hold a rally in Paris and a conference to which it will invite all the presidential candidates.
Is the campaign really going to change the minds or policies of politicians who have already explained why they're against euthanasia?
Or is it a reminder that, if you believe an Ifop poll carried out for ADMD last year, politicians in France are well behind the current thinking of the population at large when it comes to legislation.

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