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Ms B and Diane Pretty: a commentary
  1. P Singer
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor P Singer, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544-1013, USA;


In two recent court cases, Ms B, a paralysed competent adult, was allowed to end her life; Mrs Pretty, another paralysed competent adult, was not. In legal terms, the essential difference between the two cases is that Ms B was seeking the withdrawal of treatment, whereas Mrs Pretty was asking for assistance in ending her life. I argue that while this distinction may accurately state the law that governs these situations, it does not rest on a defensible moral basis. Both the women should have been allowed to choose the manner in which they would die.

  • Law and medical ethics
  • end-of-life decisions
  • assisted suicide

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