Judgment reserved in assisted suicide appeal

One of a group of about 40 pro-life protesters who picketed outside the SCA in Bloemfontein during last Friday’s appeal. The group was organised by Dr Faan Oosthuizen.

The Supreme Court of Appeal’s  (SCA) decision on an appeal against a first-0f-its kind order by the High Court in Pretoria allowing assisted suicide will probably be released towards the end of the month, said Philip Rosenthal of Christian View Network.

The SCA reserved judgment last Friday (November 4 2016) on an appeal by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), the Minister of Health, the Minister of Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions against the High Court ruling in April last year, allowing Advocate Robin Stransham-Ford to die with the assistance of a doctor. Stransham-Ford, who was suffering from stage 4 cancer died naturally on the day of the ruling.

At the appeal the HPCSA presented evidence that Stransham-Ford’s pain management had been under control, said Rosenthal. He said the council also countered the argument of the Wits Centre of Legal Studies who told the SCA that there were no problems in the US states of Washington and Oregon where assisted suicide was legal and therefore there was no reason to anticipate problems in South Africa if assisted dying was allowed.

The HPCSA put forward a strong case that there were problems and abuses related to assisted dying in the two US states, and they disclosed that there were serious problems with legal euthanasia in Belgium and Holland, he said.

Rosenthal, who has launched a website (www.euthanasiaexposed.co.za) which aims to expose “the deceptions and misleading arguments of the euthanasia and assisted suicide movement” in South Africa, said he believed the HPCSA convincingly defeated the arguments of the assisted suicide proponents at the appeal.

But he said it was up to the SCA to make a ruling and there were basically three possible outcomes. 1 – to strike down the High Court’s ruling allowing assisted suicide; 2 – to uphold the High Court order; or 3 – to strike down the order but to acknowledge a right to assisted suicide in principle, which would lead to another court case.

In a link on the Euthanasia Exposed website Rosenthal provides a comprehensive argument against the High Court’s reasons for allowing assisted suicide in Stransham-Ford’s case.

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