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Intern doctor dismissed over anti-abortion views wants clarity on charges

Doctor Jacques de Vos was charged by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for informing a patient that abortion constitutes the killing of an unborn human being.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - An intern doctor, dismissed over his anti-abortion views, has argued an inquiry must be rooted in science.

Doctor Jacques de Vos was charged by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for informing a patient that abortion constitutes the killing of an unborn human being.

The 32-year-old was an intern at 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg and his HPCSA hearing commenced in Newlands on Tuesday.

De Vos started his internship in January 2016, that December, he apparently tried to dissuade a patient from terminating her pregnancy.

He was accused of disrespecting her dignity and using emotive language to convey his beliefs.

Defence Advocate Keith Matthee SC said they needed more clarity on the charges.

“How far was the pregnancy? Was the pregnancy terminated? You will see in the charge sheet that it’s ambiguous that he dissuaded her from having an abortion. It’s ambiguous that we don’t know if the patient had the abortion or not.”

He has emphasised the inquiry must be based on scientific evidence.

“It has to be rooted in science… whatever evidence is read must be rooted in science.”

Matthee said De Vos was one week short of completing the gynaecological section of his internship before he could advance to his year of community service.

The committee adjourned for a short while to allow the HPCSA time to hand over outstanding documents to the respondent.