Cancer Sufferer Who Begged for Death Found Dead

Active euthanasia is decriminalized in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. There have been several cases of active euthanasia involving foreign nationals in these countries over the years.

"This court decision inflicts on Chantal Sébire a sentence of suffering for life," Jean-Luc Romero, president of the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity, an organization that regroups 40,000 people in France, told ABC News on Monday.

But several government members reacted over this case. Prime Minister François Fillon told RTL radio last week that "the difficulty for me in this case is that we are at the limit of what society can say, of what the law can do. I think one must have the modesty to recognize that society cannot answer all these questions."

French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot told the same radio station that "neither the medical world nor the authorities can promote active euthanasia, whatever the gravity of the illness."

And Archbishop of Lyon Philippe Barbarin on Monday told the French newspaper Aujourd'hui en France that "one must never make legislation in the grip of emotion. No one has the right to give death."

Many in Public Disagree

But on the streets of France, the public had a different reaction from that of the government officials.

"I think euthanasia should be legalized in certain circumstances. It must not be abused. It has to be within a strict law frame," Charlotte Leblanc, a student from Levallois, told ABC News.

"I think everybody has the right to die with dignity," said Delphine Steinberg of Paris. "France is rather behind on many things. But it could change, with this kind of case."

Romero was hopeful public outcry over Sébire's fight could serve to sway lawmakers.

"Chantal's fight moves the French public opinion, and when we see the reactions on [the] Internet, we see that there is something strong happening. Maybe that French lawmakers will start a real debate, will listen to what people are saying, and will vote a law. It's time to end the hypocrisy," Romero said.

Law No Barrier

On Friday, in a telephone interview on French TV, Sébire said she would not appeal the court's decision if she was turned down, after the general prosecutor declared her request "inadmissible." She also confirmed that she was ready to go to a foreign country to obtain what she wanted.

"I know now how to obtain what I need [to die], and if I cannot obtain it in France, I will obtain it elsewhere," she told France 5, adding that if she did not get the right to die by euthanasia, she "will not go in peace."

"It is unfortunate in 2008 to have to leave [the country] as a thief to go die in a foreign country," her lawyer Antonowicz said.

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