Tony Nicklinson and Lauren Nicklinson in the 1980s (Photo: Lauren Nicklinson)
Tony Nicklinson and Lauren Nicklinson in the 1980s (Photo: Lauren Nicklinson)

We lost. Again. The Court of Appeal upheld last summer's High Court ruling, and maintained that my dad, Tony Nicklinson, and now Paul Lamb, cannot ask a doctor to end his life.

What immense power to have, being part of an elite group that can condemn a small number of individuals to a lifetime of pain and suffering, even if it is for reasons that they think are fair.

I often wonder if these decision makers think of dad and Paul when they are at their happiest, doing all the things they can't.

Obviously, we are disappointed with the ruling and not surprised that the judges batted the issue elsewhere, but all is not lost!

We refuse to have our cautious optimism dashed and there are a few rays of sunshine poking through the rather bleak horizon; the Court of Appeal judges actually upheld a couple of points which the High Court rejected, which is a significant step in the right direction.

When the judges rejected our challenge they also granted us permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, something we have been told is rather unusual.

So whilst losing the appeal does sting a bit, it is positive that the court took immediate steps to ensure that our appeal can be heard elsewhere.

Our Campaign's Future

What does this mean for our campaign? Well, it is not the end - we will appeal to the Supreme Court and continue to campaign for everyone's right to die, regardless of physical capabilities.

Being knocked back and then given an olive branch in the space of 24 hours enables us to start the next stage immediately and focus on the future.

The right to die debate has pockets of people whose views vary in terms of how far that right should go - assisted suicide for the terminal and non-terminal (people who need help to die) and then voluntary euthanasia (people who need to be killed in order to end their suffering), which is where we sit.

As both are illegal in the UK, there is quite a healthy assisted suicide export market, mostly to Dignitas in Switzerland.

We have always supported the assisted suicide campaign because although we do not think it goes far enough, it lays the foundations of what we are fighting for.

We welcome Martin's appeal win, forcing the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to clarify the assisted suicide guidelines for healthcare professionals taking someone abroad to a suicide clinic (at present, they only address a loved one assisting the death).

This is good news and shows the judges' readiness to admit that assisted dying, if not voluntary euthanasia, is an issue that deserves to be explored further.

Still, the whole notion of an export market for assisted suicide is rather aggravating. The DPP's clarification of the assisted suicide guidelines following Debbie Purdy's victory made it clear that when a suicide is assisted out of love and compassion, prosecution is unlikely - it can be tolerated. As long as the assisted death is not carried out on home soil and our country is not tarnished; the ill and disabled are welcome, however, to go overseas and end their lives.

The very existence of these guidelines is an admission that assisted suicide, and hopefully, one day, voluntary euthanasia, is a very real part of our society and cases such as ours, Paul's and Martin's further highlight this. Despite this, we still refuse to deal with issue and fling assisted dying across the water for other countries to deal with. How very cowardly and arrogant of us.

Tony Nicklinson and Lauren Nicklinson in 2003 (Photo: Lauren Nicklinson)
Tony Nicklinson and Lauren Nicklinson in 2003 (Photo: Lauren Nicklinson)

This week I turn 26. Dad was only 51 when he had the stroke - I have passed the half way mark.

Never have I been more aware of my own mortality and, fingers crossed, my not so impending death. I hope that I never have to suffer the way my dad did but should that be my fate, then I want to know that I have the choice, not an obligation, to end my life.

This is what our fight has always been about - choice, the right to self-determination and autonomy - and the constant attempts by the courts, the religious, the scaremongers and the pro-lifers will not silence us.

Lauren Nicklinson is 26 years old and is the eldest daughter of Jane and Tony Nicklinson. She lives and works in Bristol as a PR account manager and has a sister Beth.