29 November 2001

House of Lords judgement in the Dianne Pretty case is welcomed

The colation of pro-life groups which has been involved in the case of Mrs. Dianne Pretty has warmly welcomed today`s unanimous judgement by five Law Lords that there is no right to be helped to die.

The coalition has serious concerns that the case could undermine the lives of vulnerable people and lead to the practice of euthanasia. In the Netherlands, decisions by legal authorities have led to the wedespread killing of patients on a voluntary and a non-voluntary basis.

The pro-life coalition intervened in the courts to argue that Mrs. Pretty`s case could critically undermine the right to life of disabled and elderly people with degenerative diseases. Last year there was a virtual consensus against assisted suicide at a conference organised by the British Medical Association.

Those who were backing Mrs. Pretty`s case appear to have had a wrong understanding both of motor neurone disease (MND) and of the palliative care available to terminal sufferers of the condition. The pro-life coalition was not allowed by the court to submit evidence provided by Dr Nigel Sykes, a leading expert in palliative care for MND sufferers, but this evidence can now be obtained fron SPUC on 020 7222 5845 .

Medical Ethics Alliance