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The simultaneous deaths of the writer Hugo Claus in Belgium and Chantal Sébire in France are a demonstration that our goal is not the choice between life and death,but between 2 different ways of dying.

Hugo Claus was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and decided to leave on his own terms at the moment he chose and before losing his mind. He was lucid and serene at the moment of his death.This is possible in Belgium,The Netherlands,Switzerland and Luxemburg.

Chantal Sébire had to suffer and show her poor, bruised face to the world because she wanted to help change the law in France….She could have died peacefully and surrounded by her family instead of having all this mediatic coverage at the end and suffering intolerable pain –physical and moral.

Anyone who would have taken the time to imagine what it must have felt like to be in her condition,would not have dared express the lack of empathy some of our ministers did.

Fortunately we have Bernard Kouchner ,who is a doctor,who was Health Minister under François Mitterrand before he was asked to become Nicolas Sarkozy’s Foreign Minister.He made a very clear statement yesterday in favour of a debate and in favour of helping Chantal Sébire to leave this life with no further suffering.

Robert Badinter, a prominent French intellectual, who also was a minister and thanks to whom the death penalty was prohibited in France also openly supports our cause. Eric Besson,Secretary of State for evaluation of public politics and digital economy,is also in favour of a debate to change the Léonetti law.He allowed me to write on his website:les-progressistes.fr.

Jean- Luc Romero,president of ADMD France,assisted by his team and mainly by Gilles Antonowicz,his legal advisor and Claudine Lassen,his medical advisor ,is relentlessly working towards a change in this very incomplete law ,which “allows “ a patient to die(meaning removing life-supporting techniques and letting the patient die of hunger and thirst)but does not allow a doctor to prescribe the pentothal sodium which ensures a fast and painless death.

Both methods are active euthanasia since both lead to death…..Only one is slow and painful and the other fast,painless and dignified. I am optimistic and I trust we will soon be witnessing change in France.

————-Jacqueline Jencquel, Paris, France

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