Last updated: 31 july, 2009 - 15:03 GMT

Opposing assisted suicide

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Matthew Bannister and Baroness Campbell of Surbiton

Matthew Bannister and Baroness Campbell of Surbiton

When Jane Campbell was born, the doctors told her mother to take her home and enjoy her because she would probably be dead within a year.

But she is now 50 and is Baroness Campbell of Surbiton - a leading campaigner for the rights of people with disabilities and a member of the British House of Lords.

Lady Campbell has a degenerative condition called Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She uses a wheelchair user and has serious breathing problems. She needs to use a mechanical ventilator in order to breathe through the night.

Lady Campbell recently hit the headlines in the UK for her impassioned speech in the House of Lords on the controversial subject of assisted suicide.

Part of the speech had to be delivered by another peer whilst Lady Campbell recovered her breath.

In the UK, it is illegal to help another person to commit suicide. There have been a number of high profile cases where people suffering terminal illnesses have travelled to Switzerland to end their lives with the help of their relatives.

Debbie Purdy has been to court to seek clarification on the law. She would like to be able to die in Switzerland but doesn't want her husband to be arrested if he travels with her.

Baroness Campbell is strongly opposed to assisted suicide and her contribution to the debate meant that plans to change the law to legalise it in the UK were defeated in parliament.

Outlook's Matthew Bannister went to meet Baroness Campbell in her specially adapted flat in South West London.

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