Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and famed archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, penned this powerful op-ed last October for the Washington Post:  “Just as I have argued firmly for fairness and compassion in life, I believe that terminally ill people should be treated with the same compassion and fairness when it comes to the their deaths.  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.”

His concluding paragraph is especially relevant:  “In refusing people the right to die with dignity, we fail to demonstrate the compassion that lies at the heart 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.”