(LifeSiteNews) — The family of a 19-year-old British woman is pushing forward with a legal battle against court-enforced gag orders which prevent them from sharing the full story of their courageous daughter, who died this week after the courts were given authority to cut off her treatment.
On Tuesday, the young woman – known as ST due to the court’s reporting restrictions – died following cardiac arrest. While her life expectancy was limited due to mitochondrial depletion syndrome – a rare genetic condition in which the energy-producing mitochondria are severely deficient in the body’s cells – ST’s health was significantly worse during the last year after contracting COVID-19 in August 2022.
The young woman’s family sacrificed thousands of dollars and all their time to be with ST during the past year, incurring a significant amount of debt to pay legal fees. After her passing, they have stated that they will continue fighting the law which allows cases related to the Mental Capacity Act to remain shielded from the public. The gag orders not only prevented the family from telling the full story but also kept ST from fundraising money to travel to North America for experimental treatments.
“We still owe a massive debt to our previous lawyers which we slowly repay in monthly installments,” the family said in a statement released by their legal team. “ST found herself trapped in a medical and legal system governed by a toxic paternalism which condemned her for wanting to live. She was in a race against time to escape ‘the system’ and the certain death it wished to impose on her.”
“The system has now succeeded, but this is not the end. On 22 September we will continue to fight for these reporting restrictions to be overturned and for ST’s right to be identified and for her full story to be known.”
The family emphasized that “this system urgently needs to change” as well as their prayers that “no one else will ever have to go through what ST and we as a family have been made to suffer this last year.” Though greatly silenced by the courts, her family shared that “she made a lot of new friends in the last week of her life, and we appeal for support in fighting for justice for our daughter and to bring what has been done in the dark into the light.”
“We are not out for revenge, but we want justice for our daughter and for other victims of this cruel system.”
The Christian Legal Centre, which recently began providing legal assistance to the family free of charge, has launched a fundraising effort on their behalf. Funds gathered will be used “for ST’s funeral expenses, to repay the family’s debt to their previous lawyers [and] to fund the family’s ongoing legal fight for justice for their daughter and to remove reporting restrictions.”
The group also noted that “any excess donations will be used by Christian Concern to help other families in similar legal battles and to campaign on the wider issues raised by the case.”
Despite requiring ventilation and dialysis to survive in the intensive care unit, a judge ruled last month that ST’s hope for treatment in the United States and Canada was “delusional” and granted the Court of Protection authority to revoke such measures. The decision was made even after expert testimony provided evidence that ST’s illness had not impaired her cognitive function and was subsequently criticized by religious and political figures.
Those who wish to offer financial support to ST’s family during this difficult time can do so here.