ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu has said that he wants to have the option of assisted dying, and that he does not want to be “kept alive at all costs”, in a video recorded on his 85th birthday.
He said: “I believe in the sanctity of life. I know that we will all die and that death is a part of life. Terminally ill people have control over their lives; so why should they be refused control over their deaths? Why are so many instead forced to endure terrible pain and suffering against their wishes?
“I have prepared for my death and have made it clear that I do not wish to be kept alive at all costs. I hope I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life’s journey in the manner of my choice.”
The video was recorded for the campaign groups Dignity in Dying in the UK and Compassion and Choices in the United States.
Archbishop Tutu revealed two years ago that he had dropped his opposition to assisted dying, but he was still then ambiguous about whether it was an option he would like for himself.
In the video, he says: “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.”
He has been repeatedly hospitalised for infections in recent months.
The Church of England is opposed to assisted dying, although the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey is a vociferous campaigner for it.