Oregon Death-with-Dignity Law Coauthor Welcomes Archbishop’s Change of Heart
(Washington, DC – July 14, 2014) A coauthor of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act welcomed one of the world’s preeminent religious leaders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for reversing his position and backing a British bill modeled after Oregon’s first in the nation aid-in-dying law.
“Archbishop Tutu’s endorsement of death with dignity is stunning and of great significance,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, an attorney who was an ER and ICU nurse and physician assistant for 25 years. “I am certain it will advance the issue in Britain, the United States and worldwide. There is no person alive with greater moral authority than Desmond Tutu.”
Writing in the Sunday [London] Observer, the 82-year-old retired Anglican archbishop, revered as the “moral conscience” of South Africa, said:
“I have been fortunate to spend my life working for dignity for the living. Now I wish to apply my mind to the issue of dignity for the dying. I revere the sanctity of life – but not at any cost,” Archbishop Tutu said.
“I have come to realise that I do not want my life to be prolonged artificially. I think when you need machines to help you breathe then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced …
”People should die a decent death. For me that means having had the conversations with those I have crossed with in life and being at peace. It means being able to say goodbye to loved ones – if possible, at home.”