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Chantal Sebire
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Advocate
    (circa 1955-March 19, 2008)
    Resident of Plombieres-les-Dijon, France
    Former school teacher
    Suffered from esthesioneuroblastoma, an incurable form of cancer
    Went to court to have French laws governing euthanasia extended to allow physician-assisted suicide
    Unsuccessfully asked President Nicholas Sarkozy to intervene on her behalf
    Lost her appeal (March 17, 2008)
    Found dead in her home two days later
    Autopsy indicated she did not die from natural causes
    Children ran from her in the streets.
    The right-to-die debate she initiated was complicated by France's largely Roman Catholic religion.
    The government refused to modify its euthanasia law, with the housing minister saying a change would be 'heading towards a barbarian society.'
    After losing her court case, she said, 'I now know how to get my hands on what I need, and if I don't get it in France, I will get it elsewhere.'
    The tumor took away her senses of sight, smell and taste.
    She was unable to take morphine for the pain because of side effects.
    She said, 'One would not allow an animal to go through what I have endured.'
    She appealed to Sarkozy to intervene because he had said, 'When I hear debates about euthanasia, I tell myself that while I respect the principles, the convictions, at the bottom of my heart, I still say there are limits to the suffering that can be imposed on a human.'
    She said, 'I ask to be helped to die because I don't want this tumor to have the last word.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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