Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal upholds appeal, rejects active euthanasia

Media Release

Embargo: Immediate release
Date: 07-12-2016
Enquiries: Vaughan Luck
Cell: 078 748 9884

Doctors For Life International is delighted with the outcome of this court case which was the culmination of decades of conferences, educating Health Professionals and the public, taking part in debates, and finally this legal battle to prevent legislation that would use the SA public as guinea pigs in a tragic social experiment.

Legalising physician assisted suicide would have created a legal precedent that would have led to floods of euthanasia contagion. The judgement will serve to protect the sick, the aged and the vulnerable in SA who are the ones who would be most harmed through such a law.

The Supreme Court of Appeal pointed to several flaws in Judge Fabricius’ ruling: One being that Mr Stransham-Ford passed away prior to Fabricius making his judgement. Circumstantial evidence seems to indicate this information may have been deliberately withheld from the court.

DFL first testified  as a separate party and later as an amicus in support of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, the Minister of Health, the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the Health Professionals Council of South Africa who have filed a “Notice of Leave to Appeal” to the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa against the whole of the judgement handed down by Judge Fabricius on the 4th of May 2015. But Judge Wallis upheld the appeal on 6 December, overturning the lower court’s decision that approved death of Robin Stransham-Ford by active euthanasia or assisted suicide.

During the court case, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits submitted arguments suggesting that euthanasia and assisted suicide were working well overseas. But DFL and others submitted evidence that proves this is far from the truth. Belgium and Netherlands for example (as with all countries that have legalised it) could not regulate or contain this form of suicide, once legalised it spreads similarly to a contagious disease.

Euthanasia was only legalised in Belgium in 2002 and this is how far it has gone;

2002 – Euthanasia legalized.
2003 – Euthanasia of children proposed in Belgium.
2004 – Euthanasia kills 1 person per day.
2005 – Belgium pharmacies offer euthanasia kits.
2006 – Euthanasia rates double.
2010 – 30{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of cases did not give consent.
2011 – Doctors harvest organs from disabled
euthanasia cases.
2012 – Prison euthanasia introduced.
2013 – Euthanasia deaths increase 25{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}.
2014 – Now legal to euthanize children over 12.
2016 – First child, 17 years, euthanized in Belgium.

Some of the new developments in the Netherlands;

2016 – not only for sick or dying but also for those considering their lives
to be complete.

2016 – euthanasia allowed for alcoholics.

Other reasons that emerged in the court’s ruling was that the picture of Mr Stransham-Ford’s final illness as depicted in the legal affidavits, bore little resemblance to reality as found in his medical records. The applicant’s doctor’s medical records indicate he was wavering in his desire for suicide/euthanasia. The estate of Stransham-Ford apparently had refused to release these medical records until a court order was issued for them. Retracting euthanasia requests are not uncommon with those seeking euthanasia, an argument DFL has often made in the past.

Judge Wallis also pointed out that the applicant’s affidavit was factually and medically doubtful on many points. Judge Fabricius’ ruling was also decided in haste (in one day) on something that is clearly a matter of national importance, and that DFL believed would have had devastating consequences. This urgency was apparently manufactured on an individual case by the lobby group Dignity SA. In the process the applicant’s attorneys had refused to provide the opposing party and amici of the court, like Doctors For Life International’s legal teams, with information they needed to respond.

DFL was represented by Advocate Reg Willis and Adrian De Oliveria and Arno Bosch from Robin Twaddle Attorney’s and are very thankful for their hard work and time devoted to this case.

Doctors For Life International is an association of more than 1600 specialists and medical doctors. Doctors For Life endeavors to promote public health by upholding sound science in the medical profession. For more information, please visit
www.doctorsforlife.co.za