Debbie Purdy loses Appeal

The BBC has the story:

Debbie Purdy, 45, from Bradford, is considering going to a Swiss clinic to end her life, but fears her husband may be charged on his return to the UK.

She wanted clarification of where her husband, Omar Puente would stand legally if he helped her in any way.

But Ms Purdy said after the ruling: “I feel that I have won my argument, despite having lost the appeal.”

She was diagnosed with primary progressive MS in 1995 and is now losing strength in her upper body. She has been in a wheelchair since 2001.

Ms Purdy has said she will take legal advice on what to do next, but said it was likely she would take her case to the House of Lords.

High Court judges ruled in October that official guidance did not need to change.

‘Parliament’s decision’

The Appeal Court judges had been asked to reconsider that judgement.

But they said: “Notwithstanding our sympathy for the dreadful predicament in which Mrs Purdy and Mr Puente find themselves, this appeal must be dismissed.”

They said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) could not adopt a “case-specific policy in the kind of certain terms sought by Ms Purdy”.

Their ruling said it had to be parliament which decided if the law should change.

And they added that, even if a defendant in an assisted suicide case were to be convicted, a court could decide that no sanction was appropriate.

Ms Purdy told the BBC: “The court has made it clear that they don’t believe they are able to give me the clarity that I feel I need.”

She added that if she could not be “100% certain” that her husband would not be prosecuted, she would go to Switzerland “earlier than I would otherwise want to”.

I absolutely love this quote from Evan Harris MP:

It is time for parliament to remove the doubt which makes an upsetting situation even more traumatic

There is absolutely no need for Parliament to act in the way that Mr Harris wants it to. The law is clear – if you aid someone in committing suicide then you have committed a criminal offence. What Harris wants is a change in the law to allow euthanasia, but then whenever Parliament debates matters of the value of human life, Harris is consistently at the vanguard of those who want to kill the marginalised and weak. Not only has he always voted against a reduction in the limit for abortions, he even voted in the last two years against compulsory counselling for those who wanted to abort a child for any reason, let alone because of foetal abnormalities. He’s known around Parliament as Dr Death, and while the media love him because he gives them the soundbite they want, the rest of the Westminster establishment don’t even give him the time of day.

It strikes me that the issue around Euthanasia is to do with the glorification of the self, the elevation of the human to the level of God. The problem is, we are not God and Parliament has long recognised that there are severe problems in allowing people to take their own lives. These arguments are not necessarily religious, because the moment that one is assisted in any way in dying, there are real issues of coercion and capacity that have to be considered.

Only last week I was discussing this issue with someone and we both agreed that there was a clear distinction between not seeking to prolong life (i.e. where there is no intervention when treatment would prevent someone dying which often occurs when people enter vegetative states) and the willing killing of someone who would otherwise, with no other intervention, continue to live. When can allow (God’s) nature to take its course, but we cannot presume to destroy that which otherwise would survice.

While I have deep sympathy for Debbie Purdy, I’m also happy that the appeal court has ruled as it has. While this case is likely to continue to the Lords and then the European Human Rights Courts, ultimately the matter may not ever be settled until we get a definitive test case.

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