The ProLife Alliance heartily congratulates Mme. Maryannick Pavageau, who has been awarded France’s highest decoration, the Légion d’Honneur, for her anti-euthanasia activity. 30 years ago, at the age of 29, she had a stroke, and was in a coma for three months. She suffers from Locked-in Syndrome, and is virtually completely paralysed but conscious. She can only speak with difficulty, communicates with two fingers on a computer, and is totally dependant on 24 hour care. In spite of this she has remained positive and spoken strongly against euthanasia. She pointed out that a recent study found, to the astonishment of the medical profession, that when asked whether they would want to be resuscitated if they had a heart attack, the great majority of locked-in syndrome patients answered Yes.
“All life is worth living,” Mme. Pavageau says. “It can be beautiful, regardless of the state we are in. And change is always possible. That is the message of hope that I wish to convey. I am firmly against euthanasia because it is not physical suffering that guides the desire to die but a moment of discouragement, feeling like a burden. All those who ask to die are mostly looking for love. My life is not what it could have been but it’s my life. I had the love of my husband and my daughter Miriam, who was two years old at the time and that gave me the strength to fight. “
Two years ago, Mme. Pavageau wrote an article in which she strongly criticised discussion of euthanasia in the media as being harmful in itself to sufferers, who may sometimes be feeling discouraged, and are not helped by what she called hypocritical suggestions that death was a loving answer to their problems.
A spokesman for the ProLife Alliance said that the Prolife Alliance has pointed out in the past that it is not simply that it would harm vulnerable people in the future if euthanasia were legalised here. Harm is already being done by the constant drip drip of untruthful implication that uncontrollable pain and indignity are inevitable, and that handicapped and chronically ill people would be better off dead. While palliative care has improved enormously over the last thirty years, and is continuing to do so, people have needlessly become more frightened rather than less.
We applaud those like Mme. Pavageau and her family who take a more optimistic view of life.