Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has advocated assisted death option for the terminally ill as an act of "compassion" in ending their pain and suffering.

The archbishop emeritus of Cape Town himself is battling prostate cancer and has been in and out of the hospital. He said he would not mind accepting "dignified assisted death" at an appropriate time.

Tutu, who turned 85 on Oct. 7, expressed his thoughts in an article.

"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," Tutu wrote.

He called up politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders to show courage in supporting the choices of terminally ill for deciding when to depart Mother Earth.

So far no laws support assisted dying in South Africa. However, in 2015, a South African court allowed a terminally ill man to end his life.

In 2014, Tutu gave up his lifelong opposition to assisted dying by writing an op-ed in The Guardian articulating his new stand. However, it was vague at the time whether he himself would exercise that option.

Assisted Death As Compassion

Hailing the strong stand taken by Lord Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury, Tutu has urged similar initiatives in South Africa, the United States and all over the world.

In his view, disallowing the right to die with dignity for the terminally ill amounts to a denial of compassion that is at the core of Christian values. To justify his cause, Tutu said his own life is heading to an end and it will be virtuous to support the idea of dignity in dying.

"Just as I have argued firmly for compassion and fairness in life, I believe that terminally ill people should be treated with the same compassion and fairness when it comes to their deaths," the South African church leader added.

Tutu is known for his unconventional stand on many issues. He has been an avid supporter of gay rights and even blessed his daughter Mpho's same-sex marriage a few months ago. He also made news by supporting a controversial amendment that relaxed South Africa's abortion laws in the 1990s.

Assisted dying is fully legal in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Canada.

Even in the U.S, states have passed laws on assisted dying or euthanasia, this includes Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California and New Mexico.

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