South Africa: the legal system authorises euthanasia

Publié le 3 May, 2015

On Thursday, 30 April, for the first time in South Africa, the legal system authorised a doctor to “assist a patient to die”.


Robin Stransham-Ford, aged 65, was suffering from terminal stage prostate cancer diagnosed in 2013.  The High Court of Pretoria deemed that the doctor “would not be prosecuted if he assisted his patient to die”. The man died shortly after the verdict was given.


Sean Davidson, founder of Dignity SA, a pro-euthanasia lobby, “hoped that Mr. Stransham-Ford’s case would serve as a precedent for the whole country”and considered that the verdict constituted “an important step towards the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia”.


The South African Health and Justice Ministers, the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the Central Office of Public Affairs are opposed to the decision taken by Judge Hans Fabricius in charge of the case.


Although the latter believes “that it is not strictly true to say that (euthanasia) will, from now on, be accessible to all”, the spokesperson for the Public Affairs Office, Mthunzi Mhaga, declared that this case has and will have “inevitable implications from a medical and constitutional perspective”.

BioEdge (Xavier Symons), 02/05/2015

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