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French courts refuse right to die case

17 March 2008

French courts refuse ‘right to die’ case

Chantal Sebire, a French lady suffering from a very rare and vicious form of cancer, has been refused the right to die.

Mrs. Sebire, a 52-year-old mother of three from Plombieres-les-Dijon in France, begged courts to allow a doctor to issue her with a fatal dose of barbituates after her disease has left her in constant “atrocious” pain and has severely disfigured her face to the point that she is unrecognisable. Mrs. Sebire has also lost her sight, sense of smell and sense of taste.

The decision has sparked a debate in France over assisted dying, especially since many neighbouring countries, such as Holland, Belgium, Switzerland- and as of last month- Luxembourg, have laws allowing some form of assisted dying for those who are terminally ill.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, the UK’s leading organisation advocating assisted dying for the terminally ill, stated:

“It is immensely sad that because France has no assisted dying law, Chantal Sebire will continue to suffer.

“It is simply wrong that terminally ill people not just in France, but also in the UK, who are suffering unbearably are not being given the choice to die with dignity.

“It is high time that we, as a society, recognised that prolonging life is not always the kindest option. In cases where palliative care is simply not enough to alleviate the constant suffering and loss of dignity, the option of assisted dying should be available.”


Notes to editor

About Dignity in Dying

Dignity in Dying is the leading organisation in the UK that advocates assisted dying for terminally ill patients and campaigns for greater patient choice at the end of life.
The organisation is also the country’s leading provider in information on end-of-life issues.

Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.

Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population support a change in the law on assisted dying.

An interview with Ashley Riley is available to download at

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