By Jonquil Frankham

LONDON, England, October 29, 2008 ( – Multiple Sclerosis patient Debbie Purdy says she is “disappointed” and “surprised” at the unfavorable decision of the English High Court today.

In June Purdy had asked for and been granted a full judicial review of her case, requesting clarification of English laws concerning those who assist in suicide. As LifeSiteNews reported at the time, the 45-year old woman hoped to force Sir Ken MacDonald, Director of Public Prosecutions, to clarify what criteria the government used to decide whether or not to prosecute those who aide and abet suicide.

While currently capable of travelling to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal, under her own powers, Purdy fears being unable to do so in the future. She says she is worried that, should she wish to commit suicide in the future, it may be at a time where her condition has degenerated and she is incapable of making the journey; if she asks someone to assist her, she says, that person may be prosecuted. “Either I’ve got to go when I’m still physically able to go, or the person who takes me risks prosecution,” Purdy told the BBC in an interview.

So far 100 UK residents have gone to Switzerland’s Dignitas clinic, which administers lethal doses of barbiturates to foreigners seeking to end their lives. No family members have yet been prosecuted, though some have been “investigated.” reported that, while expressing “great sympathy for Ms Purdy,” the “Lord Justice Scott Baker and Mr Justice Aikens ruled that the DPP did not need to issue a clarification.”

“This would involve a change in the law,” the two judges added. “The offence of assisted suicide is very widely drawn to cover all manner of different circumstances … only parliament can change it.”

In an interview today with the BBC, Purdy said she was granted an appeal because the issue is one of “public interest.” She hopes the appeal court will “take a different view.”

Peter Saunders, of Care Not Killing (CNK), told the BBC, “We’re not surprised by the decision, and we welcome it. The law is very clear … A law allowing assisted suicide would place pressure on vulnerable people, who could so easily be exploited or abused. So many people with terminal illness or depression or disabilities feel that they are a burden either financially or emotionally upon carers [sic] or upon the state or family.”

“The reason we have laws is because we believe that in a democratic society we’re not free fully, and we cannot exercise freedoms that endanger the reasonable freedoms of others. And it’s been the judgment of parliament and the courts that this is the way it should be in order to protect vulnerable people.”

Saunders told the BBC that abuse of those who are vulnerable through terminal illness or disability is inevitable should assisted suicide become legal in the United Kingdom.

See related LifeSiteNews,com coverage:

Assisted Suicide Gains Ground in British Courts


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