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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro lifers allowed in on Pretty case but seeking leave to submit evidence

11 September 2001

Pro-lifers allowed in on Pretty case but seeking leave to submit evidence Westminster, 11 September 2001--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has welcomed today's high court decision to allow it and other pro-life groups to intervene in the case of Mrs Diane Pretty, though the pro-life coalition will appeal against the judge's decision not to allow it to submit evidence. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "The court's decision that we can participate is most welcome because it means that there will be someone in court to speak for the thousands of disabled and elderly people whose right to basic care may be undermined by the outcome of this case. "The United Kingdom has an excellent record in the provision of palliative care. Thanks to such management of pain and discomfort, sufferers from conditions such as motor neurone disease can spend their last weeks or months in conditions which are neither inhuman nor degrading, as Mrs Pretty fears. "We would like to submit evidence of such palliative care but, regrettably, the court's decision as it stands would prevent us from doing so. This is the reason for our appeal against that part of the order. "If the present absolute prohibition of assisted suicide is in any way watered down, thousands of people with debilitating conditions will come under pressure to bring about their own untimely deaths. Some will unjustifiably fear that they will otherwise be a burden on their families or the community. "Our supporters include severely disabled and terminally ill people who oppose euthanasia, doctors who treat the terminally ill, and families who care for very elderly or disabled relatives." The intervention is being made by SPUC, the Medical Ethics Alliance and Alert, the anti-euthanasia group. Mrs Pretty suffers from motor neurone disease and wants to decide when she dies.

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