Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
4 minute read
22 Feb 2021
11:30 am

Everyone should have the right to die on their own terms

Bernadette Wicks

In a democratic society such as ours, it should not be up to bureaucrats and politicians to decide whether assisted dying is wrong or right, says Bernadette Wicks.

Does the right to life include the right to die? Picture: Getty Images

Do we have the right to die? That’s the question at the heart of a bold constitutional challenge to South Africa’s laws against assisted dying for terminally ill patients by Johannesburg doctor Suzanne Walter and retiree Diethelm Harck, to be heard next month in the Johannesburg high court. We don’t have the explicit right to die in that it’s not expressly set out in the Constitution. But Walter and Harck’s argument is that it’s implicit in other rights - like the rights to dignity, to equality, not to be treated in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way and, in fact,...