Lecretia Seales' death eerily similar to South African lawyer's
As Seales, 42, was preparing her own case to have the option of "aid in dying", South African Robin
Seales died early on Friday, about eight hours after a judge's decision was given confidentially to parties on Thursday.
It was not clear whether Stransham-Ford was aware of the outcome before he died, but Seales learned of hers on Tuesday night, after the judge released part of it confidentially to the parties due to her rapidly deteriorating condition.
* Right-to-die campaigner
* California Senate approves physician-assisted suicide bill
* Geoffrey Palmer's tribute to
* Stephen Hawkin would consider assisted suicide
Stransham-Ford had the support of Professor Sean Davison, a New Zealander living in South Africa.
Davison had returned to Dunedin in 2006 to be with his dying mother. He was eventually convicted of procuring and inciting her attempted suicide and served a term of home detention.
He founded the group DignitySA and campaigns for legalised euthanasia in South Africa.
Before Seales died Davison said he was following her case very closely.
"South Africa has one of the most liberal constitutions in the world, hastily drafted in the final months of the apartheid government. It has allowed our society to rapidly embrace issues that we have previously been uncomfortable to deal with such as sexuality, gay rights, AIDS, and abortion," Davison said.
"In the case of assisted dying, Parliament will be obliged to approve a bill on a proposed legal change, so that the laws that criminalise this compassionate act are consistent with the court's recognition of a person's human rights."
New Zealand's Bill of Rights was more conservative, he said.
He would continue to follow Seales' case and the impact of each country dealing with this issue had a ripple effect on other countries, he said.
He wanted the court to declare that a doctor who provided or administered a lethal agent would not face criminal, civil, or disciplinary action.
He said he was not afraid of
Judge Hans Fabricius said assisted suicide or active voluntary euthanasia was illegal under the current law of South Africa.
But he found that those laws were an unjustified limitation on
The judge said his decision was fact
Fabricius drew on the reasoning of a Canadian Supreme Court judgment given in February.
The Canadian court found the criminal ban on assisting another person to end their own life was void as far as it would deprive a competent adult of that assistance if they clearly consented to it and had a grievous and irremediable medical condition that caused enduring and intolerable suffering.
In South Africa Judge Fabricius dealt with the "slippery slope" argument from opponents of doctor-assisted death by saying, "in the absence of legislation, which is the Government's prerogative, any other Court will scrupulously scrutinise the facts before it, and will determine on a case-by-case basis, whether any safeguards against abuse are sufficient."
"... I do not think it was necessary for [Stransham-Ford] to say who the doctor would
The state parties are to appeal the result to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
- Comments have been closed on this story