SOUTH AFRICAN APPEAL COURT SETS ASIDE HIGH COURT RULING ALLOWING EUTHANASIA

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein has set aside a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court which allowed doctors to perform euthanasia, or assisted suicide, on gravely-ill patients.

In May 2015, the High Court in Pretoria gave 65-year-old Cape Town lawyer Robin Stransham-Ford permission to be assisted in ending his life by a medical doctor. Stransham-Ford passed away before he could hear the court ruling.

The Departments of Justice and Health challenged the judgment, arguing that it had far-reaching implications and that it might possibly be abused.

The government submitted in the SCA that the High Court judgment engrossed on legislative powers of Parliament.

Justice Department Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said after Tuesday's SCA ruling: "The Minister of Justice and Minister of Health are relieved that the order was set aside given the far-reaching implications the judgment had on the constitutionally-entrenched right to life which is sacrosanct.

Mhaga added that the High Court ruling also had implications on the powers of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prefer charges against both doctors who would have committed murder and or culpable homicide.

"And also, from an ethical point of view, doctors took an oath to save and preserve life, but not to end life."

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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