After almost five years of being barred to practice medicine, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) finally allowed Dr Jacques de Vos’ to continue with his career. Dr De Vos was suspended from completing the gynaecology rotation of his internship at 2 Military Hospital in the beginning of 2017. He was then charged by the HPCSA with unprofessional conduct for his views that the unborn child is a human being.
Following years of delays, the HPCSA finally withdrew the charges against Dr De Vos in September 2020. 2 Military Hospital, however, still refused to sign Dr De Vos off, citing his ‘refusal to comply with basic medical ethics’ (referring to his medical views on the humanity of the unborn child). It was only after persistent intervention of organisations such as Doctors For Life, assistance of various attorneys and advocates, as well as the perseverance of Dr De Vos that the HPCSA relented on 4 April 2022 and approved his registration as a medical practitioner for purposes of his community service.
Whilst Doctors For Life (DFL) is delighted that Dr De Vos can finally proceed to practice medicine, DFL is appalled at the unfair and discriminatory manner in which he was treated. The scientific reality of the humanity of the unborn child is generally undisputed. Nevertheless, Dr De Vos was effectively punished for his scientifically sound stance, by being barred to practice medicine for almost five years without a hearing. This was a gross and inexcusable violation of his constitutional rights. Doctors For Life calls upon the South African government to urgently enact measures to ensure protection of healthcare professionals who act conscientiously in line with sound science, and not to persecute ethical practitioners such as Dr De Vos.