European court judgement in Dianne Pretty case is welcomed
29 April 2002
European court judgement in Dianne Pretty case is welcomed London, 29 April 2002--The coalition of pro-life groups which has been involved in the case of Mrs Dianne Pretty has warmly welcomed today's unanimous judgement by seven judges in the European Court of Human Rights that there is no right to be helped to die. The coalition had 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 widespread killing of patients on a voluntary and 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. The coalition remains deeply concerned that other cases have been brought in such a way as not to allow interested parties to intervene. Judgements have been made which could adversely affect the right to life of disabled people without representative groups' being heard in court as they were in Mrs Pretty's case. The law Lords said it was very helpful to have the submissions from these representative groups. In 2000 there was a virtual consensus against assisted suicide at a conference organised by the British Medical Association. Those who backed 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 to submit evidence provided by Dr Nigel Sykes, a leading expert in palliative care for MND sufferers, but this evidence can now be obtained from SPUC, which is part of the coalition.