59-year-old Marie Fleming, who is suffering from the terminal disease Multiple Sclerosis, is heading for Ireland’s Supreme Court to appeal the High Court ruling against her bid to be granted assisted suicide.
Last week, Fleming was told unanimously by the specially convened panel of three justices at the Divisional Court that she would not be granted the right to end her life with the assistance of another.
On January 16, Fleming filed her appeal with the Irish Supreme Court, with the case expected to be mentioned on Thursday.
Fleming, a former lecturer at the University College of Dublin, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 27 years ago. She is seeking to end her own life in these later stages of the terminal disease, but would need the assistance of someone else, a circumstance that is illegal in Ireland.
Fleming reportedly told the High Court that her husband had agreed to assist her in ending her life but only if it is legal.
The Journal.ie explains that suicide was decriminalized in Ireland in 1993. However, it is still a criminal offense to assist someone in their own suicide, and carries a punishment of a possible 14 years in prison.
Following the High Court ruling last week, High Court president Justice Nicholas Kearns wrote that there is “a profound difference between the law permitting an adult to take their own life on the one hand and sanctioning another to assist that person to that end on the other.”
Justice Kearns worried that doing away with an absolute ban on assisted suicide could open a "pandora's box,” and that the risks of abuse "all too real."
Justice Kearns felt that even with safeguards implemented around the proposed permittance of assisted suicide, it “would be impossible to ensure the aged, the disabled, the poor, the unwanted, the rejected, the lonely, the impulsive, the financially compromised and emotionally vulnerable would not avail of this option in order to avoid a sense of being a burden on their family and society.”
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