Supreme court judges have dismissed a bid to effectively make euthanasia legal in the UK, after months of deliberating behind the scenes.
A majority of the panel of nine judges upheld the decision of the high court that existing laws preventing doctors from assisting with suicides do not infringe the rights to privacy or a family life under the European Convention of Human Rights.
The decision will be a hammer-blow for Paul Lamb, who was near-paralysed in a traffic accident 20 years ago and wants to end his life legally.
It follows the death of Tony Nicklinson, who suffered from ‘locked-in syndrome’, after losing his high court bid last year. His widow Jane had pursued the appeal alongside Lamb.
Not Dead Yet UK issued the following reaction:
Naturally we sympathise deeply with the disabled people who brought this legal case and their families but there is much truth in the adage that ‘hard cases make bad law’.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide is profoundly dangerous, irrespective of such hard cases, not least because they pose a very grave risk to thousands disabled people who have been made vulnerable by cuts in health and social care services and welfare benefits, making some feel they would be better off dead and no longer a burden on their family and friends.
We very much welcome, therefore, the ruling by the Supreme Court today because it protects the many whilst compassionately responding to the few by rarely prosecuting those who assist them with their wishes to die. Without this bright line we risk sleepwalking into state sanctioned killing.
Founder of Not Dead Yet UK Baroness Jane Campbell said “We can only hope that Parliament will heed the wisdom of the court by rejecting Lord Falconer’s very dangerous Assisted Dying Bill.”
The new Bill comes to the House of Lords for its second reading 18 July 2014
Disabled people are almost universally against this Bill
Some small number of ‘hard cases’ do not make opposition to this Bill any less urgent.
Contact Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, Spokesperson/Researcher for Not Dead Yet UK for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07816671185