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Desmond Tutu opts for assisted dying 'when the time comes'

South Africa

Nobel peace prize winner and South African anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has supported assisted dying in a new video recorded in June and released on his 85th birthday.

The video, recorded for two NGOs Dignity in Dying and Compassion & Choices, was in support of the organisations who are advocates for medical aid in dying for the terminally ill.

“As a Christian, I believe in the sanctity of life and that death is a part of life. I hope that when the time comes, I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life’s journey in the manner of my choice,” he said.

I hope that when the time comes, I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life's journey in the manner of my choice.

He expressed supported for the retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, who is pushing for an assisted-dying law in the United Kingdom.

“His initiative has my blessing and support as do similar initiatives in my home country, South Africa, in the United States, New Zealand and parts of the European Union, and right across the world,” Tutu said.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is suffering from prostate cancer and has underwent multiple treatments for the disease for nearly 20 years. In September, he was admitted at a hospital in Cape Town for three weeks.

“People who are terminally ill should have the option of dignified and compassionate assisted dying, alongside the wonderful palliative care that already exists … I pray that politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders have the courage to support the choices terminally ill citizens make in departing Mother Earth with dignity and love,” he concluded.

The human rights advocate was against assisted dying until two years ago when he declared a change of mind.

As he celebrates his birthday on Friday, Archbishop Tutu attended morning service at the St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town where he thanked God and later thanked all those who sent numerous birthday messages.

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