Parliament invites you to submit written comments on the proposed bill on a LIVING WILL (National Health Amendment Bill).
The proposed bill is about YOUR RIGHT to refuse to be KEPT ALIVE ARTIFICIALLY, thus following a natural dying process when it is your time. The National Health Amendment Bill has been drafted with the help of Dignity SA, which lobbies for the right of South Africans to die in a dignified way.
You are invited to object or support the “Living Will” Bill by providing comment below. Should you be unsure, please read the live comments, media, summary or documents below the form. Closing date is midnight 25 August 2018.
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This Bill is restricted to the recognition of a LIVING WILL.
PLEASE NOTE that this bill is NOT about active euthanasia, assisted suicide or forcing a person to take a position. The amendment will legally recognise a Living Will, your PERSONAL CHOICE, to die a NATURAL DEATH without artificial medical interference that will EXTEND your suffering during the FINAL STAGE of YOUR life. (e.g. in the event of final stages of cancer and there is medically nothing more a Doctor could do or if you had a stroke and are in a vegetative state and artificially kept alive)
The bill, gazetted on July 24, also wants those given power of attorney to not face any prosecution should they elect to end a life.
Here’s what the bill aims to do:
- Provide for and clarify the legal status of two types of advance health care directives, namely, a “living will” and a “durable power of attorney for healthcare”;
- Set out the purpose, scope and format for these advance health care directives and provide for the resolution of disputes related to these directives;
- Clarify whether a “living will” or a substitute decision-maker’s decision may be overridden by a medical practitioner or family members in any circumstances; and
- Clarify whether someone acting upon these directives is immune from criminal and civil prosecutions.
The draft bill is expected to clarify the legal status of living wills.
Living wills, also known as advanced directives, are legal documents that allow individuals to state their decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time.
It will spell out the legal status of durable power of attorney for healthcare, where a patient gives another person the power to make decisions on their behalf.
In 1999, the SA Law Commission made recommendations to draft legislation that addresses living wills, pain management that may hasten death, the refusal of life support and assisted suicide.
The draft legislation, however, does not deal with the question of active euthanasia or assisted dying.
Legal certainty is needed in order to prevent a patient’s wishes from being ignored by family members or medical practitioners.
Download the Government Gazette Notice
Download Ms D Carter’s (Chief Whip of COPE) questions to parliament
Important to note; this is not a petition but is the first step in an essential Participative Democracy process protected under the SA Constitution. Your comment is immediately sent as a unique email to the designated government representative and must, by law, be individually acknowledged and considered. Had this been a petition, all comments would be seen as a single submission.
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