LONDON, October 18, 2001 ( – Dianne Pretty, a 47-year-old British woman suffering from motor neurone disease, has lost a High Court challenge to laws which prevent her husband from helping her to attempt suicide without legal penalty. The BBC reports that the panel of three High Court judges, while saying they felt “desperately sorry” for the couple, ruled that no-one had the human right to “procure their own death”.

They said that the Director of Public Prosecutions could not agree not to prosecute her husband for the assisted suicide since it would be a “licence to commit crime”. Pretty’s husband, Brian, told journalists that they would be appealing the ruling to the House of Lords as soon as possible.

Canadian anti-euthanasia activist Alex Schadenberg has criticized the case as another attempt by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, which has backed the case, “to exploit the disabled to find a poster-child to forward their cause.” Schadenberg, of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSite, “It is obvious the Mrs. Pretty is in a very difficult condition and there is suffering involved in her case. But if Ms. Pretty is given the right to assisted suicide, it cannot be limited to her alone but would result in assisted suicide for the disabled across the whole nation.” Mr. Schadenberg concluded: ” Our concern is for the vulnerable people whose lives would be taken against their consent, especially since most disabled people are devalued in the eyes of most.”

See the BBC coverage:


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