More MS news articles for Sep 2001

Couple Cleared to Challenge Right-to-Die Law

LONDON (Reuters Health) Aug 31 - A terminally ill woman succeeded on Friday in the latest round of a legal battle in which she is seeking clearance for her husband to help her to die with dignity.

A High Court judge in London ruled that Diane Pretty, 42, and her husband Brian, 45, have an arguable challenge to the stance of the director of public prosecutions, who has refused to offer immunity from prosecution to Brian Pretty if he helps his wife to end her life.

If the challenge expected to take place in the next 2 weeks succeeds, it could shake the foundations of the longstanding legal block on euthanasia in Britain.

Diane Pretty, who has a motor neuron disease, was in court to hear the decision. She burst into tears as the judge, Stephen Silber, announced: "I have come to the conclusion that the claimant does reach the threshold necessary to enable me to grant permission for this challenge to go ahead."

Brian Pretty had sought the go-ahead to assist his wife of 25 years to die with dignity rather than allow the disease to run its course. The couple, from Luton in southern England, argue that the legal backing to their case is provisions in the Human Rights Act that protect the privacy of family life without interference from public authorities and the right to freedom from inhumane or degrading treatment.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd