A South African doctor is reportedly facing charges of professional misconduct due to his pro-life values. Dr. Jacques de Vos was serving an internship in 2016 at a military hospital when he allegedly attempted to convince a patient not to have an abortion, not “remaining objective” on the issue of contraceptives, and talking to his colleagues about his beliefs. Two of the charges — relating to trying to persuade a patient to keep her baby, and not respecting a woman’s autonomy — are being pursued, while the other two charges are still being considered.
de Vos, who is a member of Doctors for Life International, was suspended from practicing medicine after a military hospital refused to sign off on his internship when it was completed. Doctors for Life released a statement on the charges and the trial, criticizing the committee for the length of time as being “excessive” and “unfair,” as well as the vagueness of the charges, “bad faith” by the committee, and prejudice — which has meant de Vos is not able to practice medicine at all.
“The length of time between when action was first taken against him, April 2017, and the eventual hearing on 29th October 2019, was excessive and for various reasons unfair. In this regard amongst other things the following was emphasized,” the statement read. “All the delays were caused by the HPSCA, without any explanation a single charge was withdrawn in July 2018, only to be reinstated a few months later in November 2018, only to be replaced by four wholly new charges some 3 weeks before the first day of the hearing in August 2019, the severe ongoing prejudice to dr De Vos who as a result of the conduct of the HPSCA has not been able to practice as a doctor since June 2017 up to the present day, despite not yet having had a hearing.”
While de Vos faces this trial, he has received support from other pro-lifers, who have so far raised over R100,000 in a crowdfunding effort for his defense.
Abortion is shockingly common in South Africa, with an abortion taking place roughly every 10 minutes, including on girls as young as 12 years old — and that’s just in the Eastern Cape.
This kind of discrimination against pro-life doctors is unfortunately not unusual; a pro-life nurse in Vermont, for example, was forced to participate in an abortion after her colleagues tricked her, while other nurses have said they were threatened with losing their jobs if they didn’t take part in abortion procedures. Articles have also been published, such as in VICE, arguing that pro-lifers shouldn’t be allowed to work in health care at all.
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