PARIS, January 27, 2011 ( – The French Senate has voted down a bill that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide, in a 170 to 142 vote


The defeat came following a very public intervention by Prime Minister François Fillon and several members of his cabinet. Fillon wrote a column on the eve of the debate, calling euthanasia “a limit” that “should not be crossed”.

In addition to the objections from government officials, a crowd of 700 protesters in costume had protested the bill by “dying” outside of the senate on the day of the vote.

The bill would have allowed “anyone capable” to request “medical assistance” to commit suicide if they had a deadly, incurable illness, or even if they were simply in “a state of dependence that she regards as incompatible with her dignity.”

The vote, which was held Tuesday evening, followed a vote on a similar measure a little over one year ago in the National Assembly, France’s lower legislative house. It was rejected at that time in a 326 to 202 vote.