South African court approves assisted suicide by lethal injection

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Judge Hans Fabricius

Judge Hans Fabricius

Last week Justice Hans Fabricius of the South Africa High Court signed a court order approving the euthanasia death of Robin Stransham-Ford who had prostate cancer.

However Stransham-Ford died from his medical condition the same day as the decision came down (last Thursday), Eyewitness News in South Africa reported.

Even though Justice Fabricius claimed that this decision was exclusive to this situation, he, in fact, legislated from the bench, deciding that judges had the power to decide whether a person should be protected in law or allowed to be killed.

The court order states that Stransham-Ford, can:

be assisted by a qualified medical doctor, who is willing to do so, to end his life, either by administration of a lethal agent (euthanasia) or by providing the Applicant with the necessary lethal agent to administer himself (assisted suicide).

The court order continues by stating that doctors are not obligated to accede to the request but the doctor that does accede to the request shall not be subject to prosecution.

According to the Citizen News:

Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesperson for the Justice Minister, said the Minister intended to apply for leave to appeal against the ruling, but could only do so when Judge Fabricius gave reasons for his ruling on Monday [today].

Justice Fabricius claimed that his decision was an exception to the law, but his decision actually challenges the validity of the law.

Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide gives one group of people, usually physicians, the right in law to cause the death of another group of people.

The law needs to equally protect every citizen, especially when they are in a vulnerable time of their life.

Editor’s note. This appeared at