Pro-life doctor Jacques de Vos acted in the best interests of a mother and her healthy 19 weeks old unborn child when he tried to save the baby’s life by advising the mother that her unborn child was a human life, The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) was informed today.
Dr De Vos pleaded not guilty to two counts of unprofessional conduct when he appeared before a disciplinary committee of the HPCSA at the Southern Sun Hotel, Newlands, Cape Town for trying to convince a woman not to authorise a doctor to kill her unborn child.
At the start of the hearing today the lawyers for Dr De Vos indicated that the HPCSA still had not complied with the ruling of the disciplinary committee on August 30 that they should provide the defence with information needed for De Vos to plead.
The committee chairperson indicated that, as a result of the prosecutor failing to provide the information, the committee wanted to relook at whether there was any bad faith on the part of the HPCSA.
De Vos then waived his right to claim that the HPCSA were acting in bad faith in order to proceed with the hearing. His reason for waiving this right, among other things, was that after 2 ½ years of bad faith by those driving the matter against him, the time had come for the truth of the matter to be heard.
In his plea of not guilty, set out in the absence of full particularity to the charges, it is assumed for the purposes of the plea, that the unborn child was 19/20 weeks old when killed, that the doctor authorised to do the killing was Dr Archary, and that the method used was medical induction by means of mifepristone and misoprostol
followed by evacuation.
According to the plea, the essence of the defence is that at all times De Vos acted in the best interests of the mother and her healthy unborn child.
In particular, the defence specifies that expert evidence of Dr Warton will be led showing that it is medically reasonable to view a 19/20 week-old unborn child as human life; and that by trying to prevent the mother from authorising the killing of her child he had been considering the significant risk of physical and/or emotional and/or psychological effects such an act would have on her.
De Vos’s plea also states that he sought to ensure that the mother’s decision was an informed decision by giving
her the information she needed to make such a life-altering decision. Central to this information was to inform the mother that her unborn child of 19/20 weeks was unborn
The plea also notes that De Vos did not prevent or stop the mother from authorising Dr Archary to kill her unborn
child and that in the light of the assumptions made, further expert summaries will be prepared which will be
provided to the proforma complainant before the recommencement of the hearing.
The hearing has been set down for April 2, 3, 22 and 23 next year.
De Vos, who is a member of Doctors For Life International (DFL) is supported by DFL and legal team (De Wet Wepener Attorneys and Adv Keith Matthee SC) on a pro bono basis.