UK Mother pleads for right to die.

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UK Mother pleads for right to die

A terminally ill woman is asking the High Court to grant her husband permission to help her die. Diane Pretty, 42, from Luton, has motor neurone disease, an incurable and progressive illness, which will gradually take away her ability to move and communicate with others.

She claims her quality of life has become so low that denying her the opportunity to commit suicide is a breach of her human rights.

She is challenging a refusal by the Director of Public Prosecutions, David Calvert-Smith, to rule out taking action against her husband of 25 years, Brian, if he helps her to commit suicide.

She very strongly wishes to control when and where she dies.

Philip Havers QC, representing Ms Pretty, told the three judges that her disease was at an advanced stage.

He told the court:” She is frightened and distressed at the suffering and indignity which she will have to endure before she dies if the disease is allowed to run its course. "She very strongly wishes to control when and where she dies."

He added: "The terrible irony of this case is that her condition prevents her from doing so unaided."

The case has concerned the pro-life lobby - which say that success for Ms Pretty at the High Court would undermine the fundamental rights to life enshrined in law.

Under law, it is not illegal to commit suicide, but against the law to assist someone in doing so.

Mr Havers argued that by denying her the opportunity to commit suicide, which is available to other citizens, the government was subjecting her to inhuman and degrading treatment, in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Now paralysed

The progress of her disease means she is paralysed in both legs, and she communicated to the court in August using a machine on her wheelchair which printed out text messages.

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It is inevitable that the motor neurone disease will be fatal, usually from respiratory failure brought on by wasting of muscles.

However, she will remain fully aware and able to think clearly even if she is unable to speak or move.

As they arrived at court, her husband Brian said: "Did it really have to come this far to allow her to do what she wants? It should never have come this far."

An hour into the hearing, Mrs Pretty had to leave the court because she felt unwell.

Doctors are, under current law, allowed to ...

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