British MS Victim Wins Key Right-to-Die Ruling

Court orders that current law be clarified
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2009 7:12 AM CDT
British MS Victim Wins Key Right-to-Die Ruling
Multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy, left, is kissed by her husband, Omar Puente, outside Britain's House of Lords in London after winning her appeal there yesterday.   (AP Photo/Clive Gee/PA Wire)

A British woman has won her legal battle to force the government to clarify its law on assisted suicide, the Guardian reports. Multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy, whose health is deteriorating, wants to travel to a Swiss euthanasia clinic to die when her condition becomes unbearable. Britain's highest court agreed that the government needs to issue a policy statement on whether her husband could face criminal charges if he helps her to travel there.

"This decision means that I can make an informed choice, with Omar, about whether he travels abroad with me to end my life," Purdy said. The judgment concluded that "everyone has the right to respect for their private life and Ms. Purdy wishes to avoid an undignified and distressing end to her life." It ordered Britain's director of public prosecutions to begin work on a policy statement immediately.
(More assisted suicide stories.)

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