Suicide Denied

Disabled woman loses in court


An Irish court has denied a disabled woman her right to assisted suicide while leaving open the possibility that the legislature could legalize such an act.

Marie Fleming, 59, is paralyzed from the neck down due to multiple sclerosis. She is in serious pain, has difficulty swallowing, and sued the state for the right to die. Suicide is not a crime in Ireland, but the Irish Supreme Court found that the constitution does not authorize the taking of a life on humanitarian grounds. Fleming and her partner, Tom Curran, argue that she is being denied equal treatment under the law due to her disability.

"We will now go back to Wicklow and live our lives until such time as Marie makes up her mind that she's had enough. And in that case, the court will have an opportunity to decide on my future," Curran said in a statement.

Assisted suicide for terminally ill patients is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland under very specific circumstances, as well as in Montana, Oregon, and Washington state.