In a case brought in the U.K. by Noel Conway, a man with motor neuron disease, the High Court ruled against overturning legal protections against assisted suicide. Not Dead Yet U.K., which made a submission in the case, issued the following press release when the ruling came out.
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Disabled campaigners pleased that High Court rejects legal challenge to suicide law
Disabled campaigners from Not Dead Yet UK are relieved that the High Court has ruled against removing protections afforded disabled and terminally ill people by the current law prohibiting assisted suicide.
Not Dead Yet UK interviewed in the case and was be represented in court on a pro-bono basis by barrister Catherine Casserley of Cloisters chambers together with Chris Fry and Millie Broadbent.
This issue was last considered by Parliament in September 2015 when Rob Marris MP’s assisted suicide Bill was decisively defeated by 330 to 118 votes in the House of Commons. Mr Conway and Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) were attempting to override Parliament’s decision by seeking a change in the law through the courts.
Not Dead Yet UK notes that not one organisation run by or for disabled and terminally ill people supports the legalisation of assisted suicide. The medical profession, including the BMA, Royal College of GPs and Association for Palliative Medicine are also against changing the law, believing it would destroy trust in relationships between patients and those providing their medical care.
Disability campaigner and spokesperson for Not Dead Yet UK, Juliet Marow, said:
“We welcome the decision by the High Court to reject this attempt to treat terminally ill and disabled people differently by removing vital legal protections. We are looking forward to the national conversation now focussing on the real issue here, which is a lack of adequate social care being provided to people with disabilities. Similarly we need a proper discussion on ensuring adequate palliative care is provided for the terminally ill.”
Speaking for Not Dead Yet UK, co-founder Phil Friend, said:
“A change in the law is a terrifying prospect to the vast majority of disabled and terminally ill people who work hard towards achieving equality for all. Until we have reached that objective assisted suicide will remain a dangerous and prejudiced option, likely to increase suffering and distress”.
Disability campaigner Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, one of the founders of Not Dead Yet UK, said:
“We have successfully seen off attempts to change the law on assisted suicide in Parliament. The law must not be weakened via the back door.”
Liz Carr, star of BBC1 drama ‘Silent Witness’ said:
“Disabled and terminally ill people want support to live – not to die. As a long standing supporter of Not Dead Yet UK I am keen to take an active role in making that happen”.
For media enquiries and interviews: Please contact Not Dead Yet UK spokesperson: Juliet Marlow – 01420 477646 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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About Not Dead Yet UK:
Not Dead Yet UK is a campaigning network of disabled people founded in 2006 to oppose attempts to legalise assisted suicide for disabled and terminally ill people. Not Dead Yet UK promotes equality for disabled people in a secular context; it is not faith centred or allied to any organised religion. Its supporters come from all sections of the community. Its guiding principles are to value the lives of terminally ill and disabled people and oppose assisted suicide.