Jacques de Vos
Jacques de Vos

Anti-abortion doctor moves to have matter permanently axed

By Mwangi Githathu Time of article published Oct 28, 2019

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Cape Town - Jacques de Vos, the former Military Hospital doctor charged with advising that abortion is the killing of an unborn human being, will today be applying to have his matter permanently struck off the roll when he appears before the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

The long-awaited hearing of the disciplinary matter begins this morning and the HPCSA prosecutor has confirmed that the hearing is set to proceed on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Southern Sun Hotel, Newlands.

The hearing starts at 10am and is open to the public to attend.

De Vos and his legal team will be arguing that despite their best efforts to obtain the prescribed documents needed for a fair hearing, the HPCSA has not complied, and as such justice cannot be seen to be done.

De Vos, a member of the anti-abortion group Doctors For Life, has been barred from practising medicine since July 2017 when it’s alleged he advised a woman that her unborn child was a human being. He was then charged for unprofessional conduct by the HPCSA, but the hearing has been delayed on a number of occasions by the HPCSA.

Those supporting De Vos include MPs from the opposition ACDP party, Wayne Thring and Marie Sukers. In a statement in Parliament, Thring said: “Everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.”

Thring said the ACDP believed that these rights had been denied to de Vos.

“After numerous disciplinary hearings being set, and charges withdrawn, only to be reinstated after a few months, without explanation, it appears evident that the HPCSA is guilty of violating Dr De Vos’s human right to a disciplinary hearing that’s lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.”

Meanwhile, a senior lecturer in anatomy and embryology who is set to testify at the disciplinary hearing is expected to argue that life begins at fertilisation, “when genetic code is set and future physical characteristics are defined with precision”.

According to his expert summary, Christopher Warton, who has taught anatomy, embryology and neuroscience to medical students at UCT since the early 1980s, will tell the HPCSA that it is “entirely rational and reasonable for a medical practitioner to view a 19-week-old foetus as human life to which he must do good or do no harm”.


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