Davison in new bid on SA's 'right to die' legislation

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The man who has come to be known as "Doctor Death" for his work with assisted suicides has started a neuro-scientific study at the University of the Western Cape in favour of a law change supporting ‘the right to die with dignity’ campaign. According to a Cape Times report, euthanasia campaigner Sean Davison – who sparked controversy after he allegedly assisted his mother Patricia and others to end their lives – is currently working with UWC to determine how the new law will be defined if it is passed.

Davison believes his organisation, Dignity SA, is close to achieving a law change following a court hearing last year when terminally ill Robin Stransham-Ford successfully sought a legally assisted death. Stransham-Ford achieved a successful ruling, but not before dying just before the judgment was made.

"We show support for the need to legalise assisted death by demonstrating that it relieves fear and uncertainty associated with death," Davison said.

Davison was elected president of the recent World Federation of Right to Die Societies at the 2016 World Euthanasia Conference in Amsterdam. "Being united under a world body gives each of our individual organisations greater strength and credibility, because we are all campaigning for the same thing – the right of an individual who is suffering unbearably to choose to end their lives,’"he said.

The report says ChristianView Network (CVN) has been opposed to Davison and Dignity SA's aim to legalise euthanasia in South Africa. CVN spokesperson Philip Rosenthal said Dignity SA's claim that South Africa is close to a law change is false.

"Obviously the euthanasia lobbyists would seek to promote that view to create momentum for their cause. Nevertheless, they have been saying this since 1999. They failed then and we believe they will fail again.

"The Robin Stransham-Ford decision is currently being appealed in the Supreme Court of Appeal by the State and the Health Professions Council, with Doctors for Life and Cause for Justice supporting the appeal as Friends of the Court. Regardless of the result, one party was likely to appeal the matter, which would take another year.

"If they are successful, the court is likely to refer the matter back to Parliament.

"They face strong opposition from the minister of Health, who compared this proposal with the Nazi euthanasia programme," Rosenthal said.

Each time euthanasia was discussed in Parliament, it was strongly condemned, the report said.

Full Cape Times report (subscription needed)

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