BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Programmes: Breakfast  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Breakfast Friday, 6 June, 2003, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
A right to die
Diane Pretty
Diane Pretty fought for a change in the law
Helping someone to die because they've got an incurable illness is both a controversial and emotive subject that divides public opinion.

Whether euthanasia is right has prompted much discussion, and a bill on the issue is currently passing through parliament.

Lord Joffe's bill on assisted dying will have its second reading in the House of Lords today.

  • We heard from Liz Sayce from the Disability Rights Commission who is opposed to the bill


  • We also spoke Brian Pretty who campaigned for his wife Diane to be allowed to die at home and Lesley Close whose brother suffered from motor neurone disease


  • And Breakfast's Graham Satchell has been to Guernsey where the parliament there is looking at the possibility of legalising euthanasia.


    And we want to know what your think. Is it right to help someone die?

    click here to e-mail us with your views

    Lord Joffe's Patient Assisted Dying Bill will have its second reading in the Lords today.

    The bill would allow a terminally ill adult make a considered request for medical assistance to die and give them a legal right to maximum pain control.

    The issue has been in the news following the cases of Diane Pretty who had fought for a change in the law.

    A handful of other people have turned to a clinic in Switzerland.

    In January 74-year-old Reginald Crew from Liverpool travelled there for help to die.

    In April a British couple, Robert and Jennifer Stokes, died at a Swiss clinic following an apparent suicide pact. And last month,John Close died at the Swiss Dignitas clinic.

    What the bill proposes

    If the bill became law, a "competent" adult who is suffering unbearably from a terminal or serious incurable physical illness would need two doctors to confirm the diagnosis and ensure all alternatives have been considered.

    A solicitor would then need to confirm the patient's wishes and a cooling off period would follow so that the patient would have time to consider his decision further.

    Diane Pretty

    Diane Pretty's case has advanced the legal, medical and ethical debate.

    She lost her case in Britain and at the European Court of Human Rights but the ECHR left a "margin of appreciation" for individual member states of the EU for judicial review.

    Diane's husband Brian supports the bill.

    He and Diane fought for this as she just wanted to die at home with her friends and family.

    She didn't want to go somewhere she didn't know to die. He understands all the arguments about the need for safeguards but thinks this can be accommodated within the law - of course vulnerable people need to be protected.

    Do you think it's right to help someone end their life?

    To have your say, e-mail us at breakfasttv@bbc.co.uk

    Send us your comments:
    Name:

    Your E-mail Address:

    Town/City:

    Commenting on:

    Comments:

  • Home
    When we are on air
    Recent forums
    Programme archive
    Studio tour
    Today's information
    MEET THE TEAM
    Presenters
    Reporters
    YOUR SAY
    Contact us
    Your comments
    See also:

    13 May 03 | Health
    20 Feb 03 | Politics

     E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Breakfast stories

    © BBC ^^ Back to top

    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
    South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
    Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
    Programmes