SCA to hear assisted suicide appeal today

Photo: Andre Grobler

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein will today hear the Department of Health’s appeal against a controversial High Court ruling which would see assisted suicide become legal in South Africa.

The Cape High Court last year ruled that the terminally ill Robin Stransham-Ford be allowed to end his life with the assistance of a doctor. Stransham-Ford died naturally on the day of the ruling.

The Department of Health is opposed to this ruling. Several parties, including the Centre for Applied Legal Studies and the World Palliative Care Association, which cares for terminally ill patients, have been admitted as friends of the court, in order to provide the court with their views on the matter.

If the judgment is upheld, South Africa will become only the eighth nation in the world to allow assisted suicide, though the department would still have the option of appealing to the Constitutional Court.

Follow Courant Senior Journalist, Andre Grobler (@pencilFstate) on Twitter and @BFNCourant for live updates from the SCA.

Earl Coetzee/Courant News