Irish court rules woman has no right to be assisted in ending her life

April 29, 2013 at 11:59 AM
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DUBLIN, Ireland, April 29 (UPI) -- A terminally ill Irish woman does not have the right to be assisted in ending her life, the country's Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Marie Fleming, who has multiple sclerosis, appealed to the court after losing a challenge earlier this year to Ireland's absolute ban on assisted suicide, The Irish Times reported.

In delivering the decision of the seven-judge panel, Chief Justice Susan Denham said while suicide is not a crime in Ireland there is "no explicit right to commit suicide."

Denham dismissed Fleming's claim the ban violated her rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, saying the European court had ruled states were primarily responsible for assessing the risks of abuses posed by allowing assisted suicide.

Fleming, 59, said the absolute ban infringed on her right to personal autonomy. An able-bodied person is able to lawfully commit suicide, the former university lecturer argued, but she said her disability prevented her from taking her own life and the law did not allow her to ask someone else to help.

In January, the high court ruled the absolute ban protected the most vulnerable people in society.

Denham said nothing in the court's ruling Monday would prevent the national leaders from modifying the ban to allow for "appropriate safeguards" in cases such as Fleming's.

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