A 3-year ordeal in which he has not been allowed to work as a doctor, has faced charges of unprofessional conduct because of his pro-life views and he has endured repeated postponements and delays in his case, has caused much frustration and stress”, said Dr Jacques de Vos in an interview with Gateway News.
‘God has sustained me through this time. Many Christians have suffered much worse persecution than what I have had. I just rest in the sovereignty of God,” he said.
Asked how he felt after the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) finally dropped charges against him last week, he said: “Not too much celebration as I am entitled to a NOT GUILTY verdict. Not simply a withdrawal of charges.”
The legal team who have been representing the 33-year-old Cape Town doctor who was suspended toward the end of his medical internship at 2 Military Hospital, Wynberg in June 2017, are still pursuing justice for him in several areas — including the right to resume his interrupted medical career.
Asked about his faith journey De Vos said: “I got born again at a young age. I don’t have a particularly interesting story. I am just another sinner that was lost and God saved me by the grace available through Jesus Christ.”
On his pro-life views he said: “I believe that life starts at fertilisation because that is just simple science. It is also biblical that the unborn child is a human life.”
The disruption of De Vos’s medical career by those who oppose his views is particularly painful for him, considering the substantial difficulties he has had to overcome to achieve his medical qualification.
“I wanted to be a doctor to help people. I have a debilitating illness that I struggle with. My sympathy for others who suffer has led me to pursue medicine.
“It took a toll on me to finish my studies and internship due to my limitations. It upsets me that after having forced myself through all those years, my internship is still not signed off.
De Vos expressed deep gratitude to Doctors For Life International who helped him with legal costs of the case, including securing the services of expert witnesses.
“I would not have been able to fight for justice without their help,” he said.
Reflecting on the case that was brought against him, based mainly on his consultation with a pregnant woman who wanted an abortion, he said: ” I don’t want to elaborate here but I find it appalling that those responsible for not signing me off –and the HPCSA — have shown zero urgency in getting my case resolved, knowing I would not be able to work as a doctor and continue my medical career.”
Asked whether he believed that the people behind his 3-year ordeal should be held accountable, he said: “Everyone who partook in the discrimination against me for holding a common religious view should be held accountable.
“I pray for those who have done this to me — that God would show them grace and open their eyes to the truth.”
And what good did he hope that God would work out through his tough experience?
He replied: “I don’t know how God works it out for my own good necessarily. I just seek to glorify Him in spite of what it might cost me.
“I do pray and hope that there will come good out of my case for the sake of unborn children and that others will be encouraged to fight for their lives.
“I understand that it could be very difficult for a woman with a crisis pregnancy. But you don’t have to take life of another. There is so much help out there for women in crisis pregnancies. There are so many people wanting to adopt a baby.”
Finally, on his own struggle due to a severe venous disease, he said: “I have an opportunity for surgery overseas that could potentially alleviate my medical condition. There are a lot of costs involved unfortunately.”
A grateful former patient of De Vos, after learning about his health condition, started a crowd funding campaign aimed at raising funds for him to have surgery overseas.