Doctors For Life opposing application by Dignity SA
Protesters for and against the legalisation of doctor assisted suicide are expected to show up outside the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday, April 28, when lobby group Dignity SA will ask the court to consent to the assisted suicide of cancer sufferer, Advocate Robin Stransham-Ford.
Doctors For Life International (DFL), a Christian-based organisation of some 1400 doctors in South Africa and abroad, will oppose the application.
Dignity SA maintains that it is a basic human right to die with dignity and that patients with terminal illnesses should have the option of assisted suicide to preserve their dignity and alleviate suffering. In a press release about the April 28 court application DFL says: “With legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide vulnerable people could be pressured and exploited into what amounts to capital punishment for the ‘crime’ of being sick, old, disabled or dependent.” DFL also draws attention to the 2012 position paper of the South African Medical Association which says assisted suicide is murder.
Dignity SA reports on Facebook that it has raised R32 000 of its R40 000 target towards a protest demonstration at 8m at the corner of Paul Kruger and Madiba Street, Pretoria outside the High Court. Philip Rosenthal of Christian View Network has urged Christians to join a counter demonstration outside the court.
“With a small amount of effort now, we can stop the attempt to legalise assisted suicide as we have done twice before in 1999 and 2003. Nevertheless, if we are asleep, we may lose and this will substantially add to the social decay of South Africa. If we lose, it will then turn to a battle for individual lives and to defend medical practitioners against pressure to become involved (as with abortion). It is much easier to defend than to recover lost ground,” says Rosenthal in a media statement in which he counters various arguments of assisted suicide proponents.
Commenting on the assisted suicide application, Taryn Hodgson of Africa Christian Action (ACA) says: “Whilst the country is reeling from xenophobia riots, violence and murders, it is ironic and tragic that the pro-euthanasia group Dignity SA, wants to help someone to murder themselves.”
In a media release on the application, ACA writes: “Dutch professor Theo Boer, a former euthanasia supporter in Holland, told the House of Lords, in London last year (2014), that he had been ‘terribly wrong’ to support assisted suicide. Professor Boer declared that the very existence of a euthanasia law turns assisted suicide from a last resort into a normal procedure. The Utrecht University academic said that Holland is heading towards a record 6 000 euthanasia deaths in 2014.”
Pro-life groups uphold the sanctity of life – that every life is valuable to God, from conception to natural death. Euthanasia devalues the weak and the elderly. Compassion and support are needed for those who are ill, or depressed — not euthanasia, says ACA. ACA urges Christians to pray for and support Doctors For Life as the oppose Dignity SA’s application, and to write a letter to the editor of their local newspapers (See list of email addresses of most newspapers in SA).