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DURBAN - The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said on Monday that it stood in solidarity with former military hospital doctor Jacques de Vos, who is facing a disciplinary inquiry for advising that abortion is the killing of a human being. 

ACDP MP Marie Sukers said the party commended Dr de Vos, who was charged by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). 

De Vos is set to appear before an HPCSA disciplinary inquiry on August 27 and 28. 

Sukers said the doctor had taken "a bold and unpopular stand in choosing to be a voice for the voiceless".

"The ACDP believes in the sanctity of human life, and we look forward to a time when the life of an unborn child will be given the reasonable protection it deserves. Dr de Vos is to us an indication that the time for that is not far off. His statement, which has landed him in hot water with the HPCSA and 2 Military Hospital, shows that there are people who know that we cannot value human rights without valuing human life," said Sukers. 

She said it was "utterly disgraceful" that 2 Military Hospital and the HPCSA played a role in a health professional being barred for over two years from treating citizens, in a time when the doctor's skills and expertise were in high demand in health facilities across the country. 

"It should never have taken this long for this case to be heard," said Sukers. 

"Our hope is that a greater appreciation and respect for women and for life will take root in our cultural perspective without violating freedom of choice or freedom of belief.

"The ACDP has previously proposed legislation, in parliament, aimed to provide for a greater degree of consideration and protection for both women experiencing a crisis pregnancy and for the child they are carrying.  Sadly, this proposal was rejected by other political parties.

"In our view, too many mothers who opt for abortion are doing so without the necessary information to make an informed decision."

Sukers said that section 12(2)(a) of the constitution provided that "everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to make decisions concerning reproduction". 

The ACDP’s proposal provided for mandatory counselling precisely to enhance this constitutional right so that women were equipped to make an informed choice, said Sukers. 

"In a society where people value freedom to choose, they also value transparency and access to information so that those choices are informed choices.  Information not only about the foetus growing inside them, but about support available, would include access to relevant social grants, safe-housing and information on contraceptive measures etc. This would not be for the purpose of taking away choice, but providing all information needed before such a life-changing decision is taken," she said. 

The hearing will be open to the public, but a venue is yet to be confirmed by the HPCSA.

African News Agency (ANA)