Desmond Tutu has called on politicians, lawmakers, and religious leaders to take action to bring about a change in the law that would allow him to die with assistance. On his 85th birthday, Tutu published an article that referenced his health issues of late which saw him hospitalized a number of times this year, mainly due to recurring infections.
The article that was published Friday is a reiteration of the emeritus archbishop of Cape Town’s support of assisted dying that was first shared within the Guardian in 2014. This time around, the article was published in the Washington Post.
“With my life closer to its end than its beginning, I wish to help give people dignity in dying,” he wrote.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu Wants “Right To Assisted Death” https://t.co/iB6GK4NJXW
— 360Nobs.com (@360Nobs) October 7, 2016
“Just as I have argued firmly for compassion and fairness in life, I believe that terminally ill people should be treated with the same compassion and fairness when it comes to their deaths,” he added.
The anti-apartheid activist went on to state that people deserve to select their own fate, even down to how they die, if they are given an advanced warning due to serious sickness.
“Dying people should have the right to choose how and when they leave Mother Earth. I believe that, alongside the wonderful palliative care that exists, their choices should include a dignified assisted death.”
Desmond Tutu has changed his view on assisted suicide two years ago, following being in opposition, yet he had remained quiet as to whether he would choose such a way of dying.
— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) October 7, 2016
His own sickness and nearness to his final days, have helped him to see more clearly that people should be allowed the option to go on their own terms.
“Today, I myself am even closer to the departures hall than arrivals, so to speak, and my thoughts turn to how I would like to be treated when the time comes. Now more than ever, I feel compelled to lend my voice to this cause.”
The activist fully believes in the sanctity of life, yet also feels that individuals suffering from terrible and terminal illnesses should not have to live with the suffering and pain that it involves. He shares that he feels people should have control over the manner and timing of their death.
He believed in the sanctity of life but also that terminally ill people should not be forced to endure terrible pain and suffering, he wrote. Instead, they should have control over the manner and timing of their death. He went on to state that he has prepared for his own death, and he is now making it clear that he does not wish to be kept alive. He hopes to be “treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life’s journey in the manner of my choice.”
Tutu referenced the laws in California and Canada that do allow assisted dying for terminally ill people, yet indicated that there remain thousands upon thousands of dying people around the world who are “denied their right to die with dignity.” He then insists that for those dying of a terminal illness, merely the knowledge that an assisted death is a possibility can provide comfort in the very difficult and painful time.
The notable figure then concludes by stating that in refusing people the ability to die with dignity, compassion is not being demonstrated that should be at the center of “Christian values.”
” I pray that politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders have the courage to support the choices terminally ill citizens make in departing Mother Earth. The time to act is now.”
Tutu won the Nobel peace prize in 1984. More recently, he was admitted to the hospital on several occasions this year, most recently in September. He suffers from recurring infections as a result of surgery for prostate cancer.
Assisted dying is legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Albania, Colombia, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland, along with several states in the U.S. Such states include Washington, California, Oregon, Vermont, and New Mexico.
[Featured Image by Chris Radburn/ Getty Images]