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UK Won't Clarify Assisted Suicide Law For Sick Woman

UK Won't Clarify Assisted Suicide Law For Sick Woman

Debbie Purdy is 45 and suffering from debilitating and progressive multiple sclerosis. Worried that her husband would be prosecuted in the UK if he traveled with her to Switzerland so she could die, Debbie asked the public prosecutor for a legal opinion. When the prosecutor refused clarification of the UK's assisted suicide law, she went to the High Court to argue that her human rights were violated because she was not provided guidance. This week, the UK High Court ruled against her, and Debbie says she still does not know whether her husband will be prosecuted if he helps her commit suicide abroad.


The court explained that the ambiguity in the law was there on purpose: "The offence of assisted suicide is very widely drawn to cover all manner of different circumstances — only Parliament can change it."

To find out how UK courts have treated previous citizens that went abroad with relatives to help them die, read more.

Although the relatives of the 100 UK citizens who have traveled before to a Swiss clinic have not been charged, aiding and abetting a suicide carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. Do you think Debbie's human rights have been violated? If Parliament decides to change the law, should they just make assisted suicide legal?

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