Euthanasia Court Case Ruling Sets Dangerous Precedent


In a ground-breaking ruling in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday (30 April 2015), Judge Hans Fabricius granted terminally-ill Advocate Robert Stransham-Ford the right to be euthanised with the assistance of a doctor.

Ironically, Mr Stransham-Ford died on Thursday morning at 8am, surrounded by his family.

Although the ruling does not officially legalise euthanasia, it is a watershed case because the judge has effectively overruled the Right to Life enshrined in the Constitution. This ruling will also encourage more people to apply to courts for assisted suicide.

Pro-euthanasia lobby group, Dignity SA, brought an urgent application to allow doctor assisted suicide of cancer sufferer, Advocate Robin Stransham-Ford, before the Pretoria High Court last week.


Doctors for Life International (DFL) opposed Dignity SA’s application, as a friend of the court.

DFL has established that the three state Respondents and the Health Professions Council intend to appeal and 2 June 2015 has been arranged with the judge for argument for leave to appeal. DFL is considering appealing the judge’s refusal to admit DFL as a party to the proceedings and only admitting DFL as amici curiae.For the full DFL press release click here.

This ruling ignores and overrides the Position Paper released by the South African Medical Association in 2012 that stated: “In all instances, the action taken in bringing forth the result of death of a patient will be deemed to be murder… and Section 9 of the Constitution provides every person in this country with the absolute right to life.”


There is a world of difference between allowing a person to die naturally, letting nature take its course, and making someone die through, for example, a lethal injection. Doctor assisted suicide violates the foundational ethic – ‘first do no harm’ of medical practitioners that has been so for well over a millennium. The Hippocratic Oath includes the promise ‘to abstain from doing harm’.


Dutch professor Theo Boer, a former euthanasia supporter in Holland, told the House of Lords, in London last year (2014), that he had been ‘terribly wrong’ to support assisted suicide. Professor Boer declared that the very existence of a euthanasia law turns assisted suicide from a last resort into a normal procedure. The Utrecht University academic said that Holland is now heading towards a record 6,000 euthanasia deaths in 2014.

In Belgium, euthanasia is meant to be only carried out by a doctor, and with the patient's consent. However, more than 100 nurses had admitted to researchers that they had taken part in terminations without either the request, or consent, from the patient, or their relatives! Investigations have shown that nurses regularly go well beyond their legal role, and that one fifth of nurses in Belgium admitted being involved in the "assisted suicide of a patient" even though half of them had not even requested it!

Pro-life groups uphold the sanctity of life – that every life is valuable to God, from conception to natural death.


Euthanasia devalues the weak and the elderly. Compassion and support are needed for those who are ill, or depressed - not euthanasia!


"Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked." Exodus 23:7


When a country devalues it’s most helpless and innocent citizens, pre-born babies, and allows them to be slaughtered in their millions, it is no wonder that all other life is treated as cheap.It is an urgent priority for the Church to expose, oppose, and end the slaughter of pre-born babies, the victims of xenophobia and the vulnerable in danger of euthanasia. We need to encourage more respect for life in South Africa not legalised murder.


Please pray for and support Doctors For Life as they appeal this case.

Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper. Click here for the email addresses of most newspapers in SA.

View highlights from the E TV euthanasia debate that Taryn participated in last year here, or the full ETV debate here.

See also:

Assisted Court Case Ironic in the Midst of Xenophobia Violence

Tutu’s Call for Euthanasia Will Fuel Prejudice

Pro-life Articles

Taryn Hodgson

Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632

Claremont 7735

Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481 
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