Jacques de Vos, 32 Photo: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)
Jacques de Vos, 32 Photo: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)

Doctor faces hearing for allegedly convincing woman not to have an abortion

By Dominic Adriaanse Time of article published Aug 28, 2019

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Cape Town – An intern doctor and anti-abortionist appeared before a disciplinary hearing yesterday for allegedly dissuading a pregnant woman from terminating her pregnancy and likening it to the “killing of a human being”.

Jacques de Vos, 32, appeared before a Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) disciplinary inquiry at a Newlands hotel.

De Vos landed himself in hot water with the HPCSA and 2 Military Hospital, where he practised as medical intern two years ago for, among others, accentuating his personal or religious beliefs over the patient’s rights, and disrespecting his patient’s choices regarding her autonomy.

Accompanied by his father, Phillip, and legal representatives, De Vos appeared before a six-member panel. De Vos faces four counts of transgressions.

Charges one and two read that De Vos is guilty of unprofessional conduct as during December 2016 he acted in a manner that was not in accordance with the norms and standards of his profession.

The charges state De Vos is guilty of dissuading his patient from terminating her pregnancy, of disrespecting the dignity of the patient and using emotive language to convey his beliefs to the patient.

In addition, De Vos is alleged to have failed/neglected to honour and/or respect the patient’s right to self- determination, to have disrespected his patient’s choices regarding her autonomy and failed/neglected to respect his patient’s right to bodily and psychological integrity.

Charges three and four state that De Vos is guilty of unprofessional conduct in that during 2015 he distributed pamphlets at his work imposing his religious beliefs and values on members of the public, his colleagues and patients, and that he attempted to influence his colleagues to adopt his opinions by sending them text messages.

The HPCSA also charges that De Vos failed/neglected to remain objective when advocating the use of contraceptives. 

Since being suspended from the hospital, De Vos has also been prohibited from starting his community service. He is supported by Doctors for Life International, which assisted him in obtaining legal representation from law firm De Wet Wepener Attorneys.

Senior counsel Keith Matthee is representing De Vos pro bono.

At the hearing yesterday Matthee said De Vos had last month received a different charge sheet to the one that was presented yesterday.

The chairperson of the disciplinary panel then requested the representatives to discuss an exchange of documentation during an adjournment.

HPCSA representative Zolile Gajana said the parties had agreed to exchange documentation by no later than Friday. The HPCSA is expected to reconvene in October.

Matthee said the committee could potentially sanction De Vos with a warning, a fine, suspension, or terminate his registration with the HPCSA.

“The regulation stipulates Dr De Vos must be served with the charges 60 days before the hearing, in order for us to prepare ourselves. The first time we were informed who would sit on the disciplinary committee was yesterday (Monday), despite repeated requests for the information.

“We want the matter to be heard and would seek a ruling from the committee for the other party to provide us with the original complaint in order for us to prepare our response,” said Matthee.

Matthee said De Vos wanted to do his community service at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Cape Times

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