Prosecution against a South Africa doctor for encouraging a pregnant woman to choose life for her unborn baby was delayed again this week.
Jacque de Vos, 32, was finishing his medical training in 2016 when the Health Professions Council of South Africa charged him with medical misconduct for trying to dissuade a pregnant woman from aborting her 19-week unborn baby.
The Daily Maverick reports de Vos pleaded not guilty to two charges against him Monday during a hearing. One accuses him of trying to dissuade a patient from having an abortion, and the other alleges that he failed to respect the patient’s bodily autonomy. Two other charges against him were dropped last week, IOL reported.
De Vos’s case has been delayed numerous times, and on Monday, it was postponed again until April 2020, IOL reports. Council prosecutor Zolile Gajana asked for the delay, taking issue with the two dropped charges and asking for a High Court judge to review the matter, according to the report.
Keith Matthee, de Vos’s attorney, however, was “strongly opposed to postponing the matter,” saying more delays would “would perpetuate a huge injustice to de Vos” by preventing him from working, according to the Maverick.
African Christian Democratic Party MP Marie Sukers also spoke up on the doctor’s behalf during the hearing Monday, the report states.
“De Vos has been waiting for two-and-a-half years (for the disciplinary hearing) in a country that has a shortage of doctors.” Sukers said. His case highlights “an important conversation on the rights of the child.”
On Monday, Matthee argued that de Vos should not be punished for “trying to save the life of a healthy unborn child.” He said his client also was trying to protect the mother from “the risk of physical and/or psychological effects such acts would have on her.”
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The charges go back to 2016 at 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg, South Africa, when de Vos was completing his medical training to become a doctor. Allegedly, he told a patient who was 19-weeks pregnant that life begins at conception (a scientific fact), that her “fetus was a human being” and that an abortion kills an unborn human, Sowetan Live reported earlier this summer.
However, de Vos lost his job and was suspended from practicing medicine because he told the truth, according to the report. He was only one week away from finishing his medical degree when he was suspended, the report states.
De Vos’s lawyers said he has not been given a fair trial.
Earlier this year, attorney Martus de Wet complained about multiple hearing delays and the effect on de Vos’s ability to provide for himself.
De Wet said the two-plus year process has been “very frustrating.” He said the pro-life doctor is “being punished but denied the basis for it and an opportunity to answer.
“His punishment is being not able to practice for more than two years now. He has severe health challenges. It all aggravates the situation,” de Wet continued.
South Africa has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, allowing abortions on demand for basically any reason and taxpayer-funded abortions. Abortions became legal in 1996 under the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill. Celebrated leader Nelson Mandela supported the legislation.
Now, pro-life doctors are being persecuted simply for telling the truth.
The concerning situation draws attention to the importance of conscience protection laws. Without them, medical workers can lose their jobs and, worse, be prosecuted just for telling the truth. It also provides worrying evidence that abortion activists do not want women to know the truth, and they will use powerful leaders and governing bodies to keep women in ignorance about their unborn babies’ lives and the violence of abortion.