Brave supporters of the campaign to change the laws governing assisted dying.
Avron Moss ☆ 1965 – † 2015
Some terminally ill, mentally competent, patients in inexorable pain and unendurable suffering consciously choose to die in dignity. The relevant law in South Africa actively perpetuates suffering, in conflict with our Constitution and with Human Rights, and is indefensibly unjust. All caring health care professionals ought to be actively involved in campaigning to change the law.
That health care professionals cannot assist them, and that these patients are forced to buy questionable medication to end their lives from unscrupulous websites, or suffer the terror of having to shoot or hang themselves, ought to be abhorrent to any caring professional. Yet it is within the expertise of the medical profession to offer such patients assistance with the death they are asking for: a safe, pain-free, peaceful and dignified ending.
Brian O’Connell VC UWC
I am entirely persuaded of the ethical case for giving people the right to seek assistance in dying when they have a terminal illness with symptoms that are both unbearable and unable to be alleviated by good care.
Lord Joel Joffe ☆ 1932 – † 2017
I support Dignity South Africa because I care about suffering and want the law changed so that those who presently suffer terrible deaths will in future have the option to end their suffering through ending their lives at a time and in the manner of their choice.
I consider assisted dying a fundamental human right, and submit that the height of hypocrisy is being pro death penalty but against euthanasia and abortion.
"My body, my right, my choice."
I think that society needs to show compassion to terminally ill people who face terrible suffering before their death, by giving them the option for an assisted death before that suffering becomes unbearable.
Sir Terence English KBE FRCS
During my life as a surgeon I have come across mentally competent, terminally ill patients who would have welcomed the option of being able to choose the timing and circumstances of their death.
I believe the legalisation of assisted dying is important for those who, like me, wish to have this degree of control over their final days.
Towards the end of his life my grandfather, Makhura Sexwale, was in his hospital bed in great pain. His ailments were caused by his failing aged body. His mind was as sharp as a blade. I sat at his bedside with tears rolling down my face as he begged me to get him discharged so he could die at home. We’d never discussed euthanasia before until that day when he said: “If I had a gun I would shoot myself. If I could convince you to drug me to death, would you do it?” I knew then that my long-held belief for assisted dying for those with no hope of recovery but in great pain was not misguided. He passed away 3 months later naturally at home on his 97th birthday in February 2015.
It is in his memory I accept the honour of being a Dignity SA patron.
Professor David Benatar
The state exceeds its authority when it condemns to continued existence somebody who judges his or her death to be the lesser of two evils and who seeks the assistance of somebody willing to help bring about that death. Any society that claims to respect the rights and dignity of its people must allow the exercise of that choice (within an appropriate regulatory framework).
I am a great believer in personal freedom, including the freedom to control how and when we pass on when we are terminally ill. Given that most of our suffering occurs in the last few months of our lives, it seems to me that legalising assisted dying is a simple intervention with the potential to massively reduce human misery.
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David Ross Patient☆ 1963 – † 2017
As a result of my almost 34 years in AIDS, I have become a firm advocate for the Right of an individual to end their own lives, when there are no other options and death is inevitable. I am not advocating someone having the right to end their lives due to a bad hair day or for being heartbroken by some relationship. I am talking about a person, living with a terminal illness, who has exhausted all their options and their future is one of pain and suffering and that they be allowed, by law and with the assistance of a medical practitioner, to decide when they want to die and get the appropriate help.
My primary reason for supporting the right to an assisted death could be described as selfish. I would not want to be left depending on machines for the most basic of human functions, especially when there is pain and very little chance of recovery and when I’m a practical burden on my loved ones, when I could easily be left to make a decision to have my life humanely ended. Because this is what I would wish for myself, I also wish for the same for other people. Ultimately, the right to an assisted death should be included in the list of human rights to dignity.