Doctors For Life December 2016 Newsletter
From the CEO’s Desk
Year end is a good time to reflect on the past year. It has been a busy year with many activities taking place. I am thankful for what we as an organisation could do. At first I want to thank all our sponsors and donors, the office staff and other voluntary helpers for their faithful support and help to fulfil our calling. It has been a pleasure to work with you and I want to take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas and a time of rest during the festive season.
I am looking forward to 2017 knowing that I have the right people and resources for the challenges that lie ahead.
Thank you for all your hard work. I wish you everything of the best for the new year.
Our Legal Corner
Doctors for Life International is still involved as one of the defendants in the cannabis court case in South Africa involving the “Dagga Couple” who are pushing for the legalization of cannabis, both medicinal and recreational. The case is due to be head in the Pretoria high Court at the end of July 2017.
A 2008 study on university campuses found that a staggering 87 percent of “emerging” adult men (aged 18-26), and 31 percent of emerging adult women report using porn at some level. Twenty percent of young men report using pornography daily or every other day, and almost half use it at least weekly. But the shock factor of pornography consumption statistics do not stop there. Perhaps the more telling pornography statistic is that slightly over two thirds of young men, and nearly half of young women believe that porn consumption is morally acceptable.
This statistic of acceptance is particularly interesting because it is pulled from our generation, which often defines right and wrong in terms of consequences. Consequence-based morality maintains that if something doesn’t hurt yourself or others, it’s not wrong. 
Healthy sexuality combines emotional, social, intellectual, and physical elements, but pornography separates the mechanized components of sex from real sexuality itself. It leads to decreased sensitivity toward women and increased aggression. It also leads to a decreased ability to build healthy relationships or experience sexual satisfaction; users are increasingly unable to properly link emotional involvement with sex. Indeed, porn fosters incredibly unhealthy views about sexuality and human beings. Most porn portrays women as sex-obsessed, mindless objects, promiscuous and subordinate. As feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon might propose, the prevalence of pornography begs the question: Are women human? Though that question seems extreme, ask yourself if a good society can intentionally engage in a medium that portrays half of its members in such a derogatory manner. 
University of Texas-San Antonio’s Dr. Donald L. Hilton, Jr.’s research on porn addiction explains that pleasure chemicals in the brain are gradually overused when a person views pornography; the brain then limits dopamine production, causing the viewer to become starved for dopamine.
Despite the personal and social costs of pornography, health services are absurdly silent on the issue of such an exploitative and harmful industry.  University of Chicago professor Jean Bethke Elshtain argues in ‘The Social Costs of Pornography’ that we should not dismiss the “moral” in our avoidance of the “moralistic.” Elshtain maintains that in order to be responsible citizens, we must ask ourselves, “What sort of community is this? Is it reasonably decent and kind? Is it a fit place for human habitation, especially for the young? What happens to the most vulnerable among us?  We should all be asking ourselves whether pornography is compatible with a respectful and good society. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Research, v23 n1 p6-30 2008 revealed that roughly two thirds (67%) of young men and one half (49%) of young women agree that viewing pornography is acceptable, whereas nearly 9 out of 10 (87%) young men and nearly one third (31%) of young women reported using pornography. Results also revealed associations between pornography acceptance and use and emerging adults’ risky sexual attitudes and behaviours, substance use patterns, and non-marital cohabitation values.  Father Gregory Thompson, Chaplain at Bishop O’Connell High School (USA) is very concerned about the devastating effect of pornography on people, especially the youth. “People don’t know what to do. They fall into it, and do not know how to get out of it. It’s a spiritual cancer on the world right now. 
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Doctors For Life International is delighted with the outcome of this court case which is a culmination of decades of conferences, educating health professionals and the public, taking part in debates, and finally this legal battle to prevent legislation that would use the South African public as guinea pigs in a tragic social experiment.
Legalising physician assisted suicide would have created a legal precedent that would have led to floods of euthanasia contagion. The judgement will serve to protect the sick, the aged and the vulnerable in South Africa who are the ones who would be most harmed through such a law.
The Supreme Court of Appeal pointed to several flaws in High Court Judge Fabricius’ ruling: One being that Mr Stransham-Ford passed away prior to Fabricius making his judgement. Circumstantial evidence seems to indicate this information may have been deliberately withheld from the court.
DFL first testified as a separate party and later as an amicus (friend of the court) in support of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, the Minister of Health, the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the Health Professionals Council of South Africa who filed a “Notice of Leave to Appeal” to the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa against the whole of the judgement handed down by Judge Fabricius on the 4th of May 2015. But Judge Wallis upheld the appeal on 6 December, overturning the lower court’s decision that approved the death of Robin Stransham-Ford by active euthanasia or assisted suicide.
Other reasons that emerged in the court’s ruling was that the picture of Mr Stransham-Ford’s final illness as depicted in the legal affidavits bore little resemblance to reality as found in his medical records. The applicant’s doctor’s medical records indicate he was wavering in his desire for suicide/euthanasia. The estate of Stransham-Ford apparently had refused to release these medical records until a court order was issued for them. Retracting euthanasia requests are not uncommon with those seeking euthanasia, an argument DFL has often made in the past.
DFL was represented by Advocate Reg Willis and Adrian De Oliveria and Arno Bosch from Robin Twaddle Attorney’s and we are very thankful for the hard work and time they devoted to this case.
Doctors For Life International is an association of more than 1600 specialists and medical doctors. Doctors For Life endeavours to promote public health by upholding sound science in the medical profession. For more information, please visit www.doctorsforlife.co.za for more information
On the 30th September 2016 the LifeChild orphanage in Schoemansdal was uprooted. An intense storm ripped off a large section of the roof, leaving 18 children homeless. Most of their belongings were drenched and there was a lot of damage to the building’s interior. That night the whole orphanage took refuge at Schulzendal Mission, which is some 20 minutes’ drive from the orphanage. The children were shaken and disoriented – but were safe!
At the time Schulzendal Mission was preparing for their annual youth conference and so the children settled into temporary accommodation. After the conference, the children were moved into more permanent dormitories and adapted well to their new home environment. They have been enrolled into the Schulzendal Mission School which follows the same ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) curriculum as the children’s previous school.
We thank the Lord for these precious children and look forward to His provision of better accommodation.
Jeffrim Bernabella – Principal Schulzendal Mission School.
Recently a young woman came to the Zavora clinic and asked for tablets to bring on her period as it was two months since that she had had them. We were shocked when we realised that was asking for an abortion and so we counselled her. She did not say much but kept on smiling. Somehow I couldn’t forget her, keeping her in my mind. A few weeks later I recognized her sitting in the waiting area of the clinic again. It was a big surprise to see that her belly had grown. She told Miriam that she had decided not to have an abortion after we had talked to her. We were so thankful that our prayer was answered and asked her to come to our maternity ward for the delivery.
She gave birth to a little boy who is the first son born into the family of her husband, which was of course a special joy for them.
March for Life – October 2016
March for Life grows every year
On the 2nd of October the annual ‘National Alliance for Life (NAL)’ `March For Life’ took place in the vicinity of Gateway in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal. Each year the response of pro-lifers attending the National Alliance for Life organised March, grows substantially.
About 30 minutes before the march there were short speeches by a variety of people.
Katherine Meek from the USA shared how her mother was warned by gynaecologists that her pregnancy would result in a severely deformed baby because they were certain she had “spina bifida” and advised her that she should abort the baby as soon as possible. Specialists confirmed this a number of times. However, Catherine’s mother chose to give her baby “a chance to live”. The specialists warned her mother that the complications of her baby would “bankrupt” her family. Nevertheless, she chose life. When Catherine was born the delivery room was filled with doctors and there was total silence when she was born. Her mother asked what was wrong and a doctor replied: “Nothing, your baby is perfect”. Today, Catherine is assisting women with HIV/Aids in Gauteng.
Mrs Charmaine Stuart-Steer & Ms Luanda Hlela shared how they almost aborted their babies and both were carrying their lovely babies on stage.
Pastor Flip Benham from North Carolina also addressed the audience. He was the man who helped Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” in the infamous Roe vs Wade case in 1973 which legalised abortion in the USA, become a Christian and an enthusiastic pro-lifer.
The marchers walked 4km around Gateway shopping mall and included many children, teens and even the elderly (including a determined 87 year old granny) of many different races and church backgrounds.
The national March For Life is open to all people from various organizations, as well as individuals and churches who demand the right of unborn human persons to have the full protection of the law. The NAL provides a forum for all interested parties to come together and combine their efforts to raise awareness.
The March For Life has been taking place for a number of years now and each year sees more interest from organizations and the media.
Aid to Africa (A2A) Outreaches 2016
The medical outreach program of DFL, i.e. Aid to Africa had a tremendous year for which we thank God. The year was kicked off with a big cataract surgery camp in Botswana with Dr Johann Eloff. The area we targeted was Molepolole at the Scottish Livingston Hospital but patients came from as far as Mahalapye about 200km away. During the first week we totaled 154 cataract surgeries. Although we were not present anymore, DFL sponsored about 115 that were done the second week and a further 100 during the rest of the year. The total came to about 369.
Our team also did 2 medical missions in Malawi again and the work there bore much fruit. Dr Carl-Heinz Kruse was the eye specialists that took place in two separate villages. These areas were very neglected and remote. Dr Kruse performed about 109 surgeries of which most was cataract and trachoma, in Chikuluma and Mambala. We also tested and provided about 600 patients with free eye glasses. DFL is also looking into establish permanence in southern Malawi. Such a clinic would also be useful as a base to reach other needy areas as well. In September this year we sued our Sihane clinic in Mozambique for such a purpose. A small team of 2 doctors and supporting staff visited surrounding communities and communities as far as 200km away during this time. The areas included Likulu, Cumbana and Muvamba.
We worked form the local government clinics who were thankful for the additional medication and help we provided free of charge. The focus was mostly on general medical and dental care. Our faithful volunteer and friend, Prof Pat McEwen from the USA also joined us regardless of being receiving chemotherapy up to a day before and after the medical outreach! She assisted with screening patients for acuity and reading glasses that we also provided free
Medically, we treated about 23,000 patients over the past year and delivered about 260 babies at our maternity.
Its however with sadness that we say goodbye our two doctors, Dr Ronald and Dr Elizabeth Neufeld, a married couple from Germany, who have poured themselves out at Zavora over the last year and a half. Dr Ronald took over the medical work from late Dr Paul Zuidema, but are returning to Germany to specialize in general surgery. His wife handled the worked in the maternity ward while taking care of some of her own children.
We would like to thank them, our current staff the many volunteers and supporters, whether in prayer or financially, who helped with this part of DFL’s work in the past year.
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Mat 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,
Mat 2:2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When Christians look at the darkness around them, they may be tempted to despair. If I look at the battles DFL has been fighting through the course of this year alone, it appears as if the dam wall has broken and we only have ten fingers to stick into the holes.
But here, in the beginning of the New Testament we are taught about His arrival through a star. At the end of the New Testament we read again: Rev 2:28 And I will give him the morning star.
In Matthew the star was actually a sign that He had given Himself to the world. And once again in Revelation the star is He Himself: Rev 22:16 ….I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.
In both Matthew and Revelation the star comes in a period of darkness. In Matthew the star was a sign that the morning had come. In Revelation His presence in our hearts is an assurance and inner conviction in the heart of the believer that the morning is coming even in the darkness of the night. A certainty in his heart and a witness in his soul.
But it also teaches us that such a person will not just sit down and tolerate darkness in his heart and cannot leave the darkness to have its way in our society. Rev 2:26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end….I will give him the morning star.
Let us continue and remain faithful in the battles to which we’ve been called
- God’s blessing on the work
- Labourers to send into the field
- Medical volunteers for Zavora clinic (Mozambique)
About Doctors For life
Non-Profit making Organisation (NPO) established in 1991. We bring together medical professionals to form a united front to uphold the
PO Box 6613
Phone +27 (32) 4815550 or 1/2/3
Fax +27 (32) 4815554
To sign up or donate: Visit our website www.doctorsforlife.co.za
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