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UCT lecturer to take the stand for anti-abortion doctor De Vos

Jacques de Vos File photo: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

Jacques de Vos File photo: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 3, 2019

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Cape Town – UCT senior lecturer in human anatomy and embryology Dr Christopher Warton is set to take the stand when the hearing of intern doctor and anti-abortionist Jacques de Vos resumes this month.

In an affidavit submitted by De Vos’s legal team to the Health Professions Council of SA’s (HPCSA) legal counsel, Warton argues that, while not cognitively advanced, a 19-week-old foetus “has a fully human form and his/her movements are already being felt by his/her mother”.

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“In my opinion, it is entirely rational and reasonable for a medical practitioner to view a 19-week-old foetus as human life to whom she must do good and do no harm. In my experience as a medical practitioner and teacher, that is a normal response... 

"This would, for example, explain why a medical practitioner would carefully consider the effects of any medication she prescribes for the mother on the foetus,” read the affidavit.

De Vos found himself in hot water with the HPCSA and 2 Military Hospital, where he practised as a medical intern two years ago, for advising pregnant women that their unborn babies were humans.

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Upon the completion of his internship in June 2017, the hospital refused to sign him off, effectively barring him from continuing with his career. He has also been barred from starting his community service.

His legal team have accused the health body of failing to meet the August 30 deadline to submit all relevant documentation. 

HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said their legal representative was held up with another matter and would not confirm whether he had submitted the documentation to De Vos’s legal team.

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Warton is a founding board member of The Vine School, formerly John Wycliffe Christian School in Cape Town. He has been teaching anatomy, embryology and neuroscience to medical students and students of the Allied Health Professions at UCT since 1980.

Warton said it was unethical to hide relevant information from patients. 

“If a woman has an abortion and later discovers that the foetus was more developed than she realised, she could legitimately complain that her consent was not informed.”

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The matter has been set down from October 28 to 30.

Cape Times

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