In welcome news today from South Africa’s News 24, the Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, signalled an appeal to a recent court ruling that allowed for Assisted Suicide in the African nation.
The recent court ruling on an appeal by Pretorian Lawyer, Robin Stransham-Ford, that he be allowed to die by assisted suicide or euthanasia effectively struck a broad blow to the protection of human persons in South Africa because, contrary to the assertions of the judge, his decision was not limited to the person in question. Effectively, Judge Hans Fabricius legislated from the bench.
In the article, Motsoaledi presented a cogent defence of the opposition to both assisted suicide and euthanasia: “This judgment has the potential to give rise to fraud and unethical behaviour among doctors,” Motsoaledi said.
“Very soon we will start hearing stories of families colluding with doctors to end the life of their loved ones because they wanted to cash in on insurance policies. Some people may even start planning their deaths because they know that their policies are maturing.
“We can’t have that situation in South Africa because it would be difficult to police and deal with. To prevent it, we must stop it before it goes any further,” he said.
Reporter Zinhle Mapumulo wrote that, ‘So determined is the health minister to stop the decriminalisation of assisted suicide that he is prepared to go to the Constitutional Court to fight the ruling passed in favour of Advocate Robin Stransham-Ford, who wanted to be helped to die.’
It went on:
Stransham-Ford (65), who had end-stage prostate cancer, approached the North Gauteng High Court seeking permission for doctors to assist him to die without them facing legal or professional consequences.
Assisted suicide or euthanasia is illegal in South Africa, and doctors who help patients to die face jail time of up to 14 years.
The health department will now join hands with the department of justice and constitutional development to appeal the judgment.
‘Motsoaledi said they were appealing because death was a natural process, and “no person should be allowed to assist somebody to die without facing the law.”
“It doesn’t matter that science tells you that you have two weeks to live. Doctors should not participate in that dying process. Theirs is to help with palliative care so that a patient dies with dignity,” Motsoaledi said.’
Published: May 5, 2015. By Paul Russell
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