Doctors For Life International is a non-governmental and registered Non-Profit making Organisation (NPO) established in 1991. We now have a growing number over 1500 members.
The members are medical doctors, specialists, dentists, veterinary surgeons, and professors of medicine from various medical faculties across South Africa and abroad, in private practice and in government institutions.
When is a life, a life? Scientific research clearly defines that the beginning of life is at conception. Immediately after conception each cell has sufficient information in its DNA structure to produce a complete human being. Destruction at any stage of the development of a person, from the single cell stage up to several million cells, is the taking of a life.
The use of the terminology ‘right to choose’ is a perversion of the truth because it exploits the language of rights as a pretext for taking away the most basic right of all: the right to life. As a result, those who are the most drastically affected, namely the victims, are the ones who are denied the ‘right to choose’. It is unethical and an abuse of power to destroy those who cannot defend themselves. It is therefore not surprising that the largest survey ever done amongst South African doctors on abortion showed that more than 80 of them are against abortion on demand.
Doctors for Life would like to re-affirm our commitment to promoting holistic health to all the people of South Africa in a scientifically sound and morally accountable way. Representing over one thousand five hundred health practitioners, we stand for the practice of medicine that is based on evidence and the highest ethics. We are of the opinion that any form of medicine that is not based on empirical evidence is potentially (and ultimately) harmful to patients in need.
Doctors for Life (DFL) is opposed to ‘active’ euthanasia, that is euthanasia that involves the intentional killing of a person, but is not opposed to the patient’s right to refuse medical treatment or ‘passive’ euthanasia.
DFL supports the present ban on active euthanasia in South Africa. We believe that it should be kept because any relaxation would be open to abuse. Active euthanasia could put pressure on the old and the sick to seek early death such that the ‘right to die’ would become the ‘duty to die’ .To distinguish between murder and ‘mercy killing’ would be to cross the line that prohibits any intentional killing, a line that is essential to preserve. We can respect a patient’s right to request to die especially when the patient has an incurable disease that would require extraordinary intervention. We do not, however, support the termination of ordinary treatment such as pain modifiers, antibiotics, food or water. With pain medications available to doctors today, 99 of pain is treatable.In general, arguments in favour of active euthanasia are insufficient to weaken society’s prohibition of intentional killing. We look at quality of life as an intrinsic value and not a qualitative value judged by a second party. We look upon active euthanasia prohibition as the cornerstone of law and of social relationships. It protects each one of us impartially, embodying the belief that all are created equal. We do not wish for protection to be diminished, and we therefore recommend that there should be no change in the law to permit active euthanasia.Finally, we at DFL do not believe that it is possible to set secure limits on voluntary euthanasia. Involuntary euthanasia based on contemporary social evaluations of age (young or old), competence, illness, race, genetic differences would be subject to rampant abuses. It would be next to impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary, and that any liberalization of the law was not abused. Moreover, to create an exception to the general prohibition of intentional killing would inevitably open the way to its further erosion, whether by design, by inadvertence or by the human tendency to test the limits of any regulation.The road to active euthanasia starts with an attitude shift in the medical community. Daniel Callahan in his book What Kind of Life: The Limits of Medical Progress criticized contemporary medicine for shifting its focus from care to cure: ‘The primary assurance we all require is that we will be cared for in our sickness regardless of the likelihood of cure…The greatest failure of contemporary healthcare is that it has tended to overlook this point, has become distracted fro it by the glamour of cure and the war against illness and death. At the center of caring should be commitment never to avert its eyes from, or wash its hands of, someone who is in pain or is suffering, who is disabled or incompetent, who is retarded or demented.
ABOUT 47 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH HIV SINCE 1981. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that causes a gradual deterioration of the immune system, resulting in infections which the human body cannot defend. People who are infected with HIV may have the virus up to ten years before displaying any symptoms. During this period, however, they can transmit the disease to other people. HIV is spread through the exchange of blood, semen and/or vaginal secretions.
Those at highest risk include people engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners, intravenous drug users who share needles, infants born to mothers and people who received blood transfusions between 1977 and 1985. Mother to child HIV transmissions occurs predominantly during birth and less so prior to birth.
Same sex attraction
The discussion of sexual orientation is complex and emotional. It is complex because it encompasses a wide range of scientific fields such as behavioural genetics, neuro-anatomy, psychiatry, psychology, sociology and many others. And it is emotional because sexuality is such an integral part of our identity as individuals. Homosexuality has undoubtedly been one of the most debated socio-political topics in the west over the past few decades.
There are two main kinds of studies that are carried out regarding sexual orientation. They are usually referred to as the nature vs. nurture arguments. This concept is not restricted to the question of sexual orientation only but is widely used in science. It basically asks – “to what extent is something the way that it is because of its biologically inherited nature, such as genetics?” And, “to what extent is something the way that it is because of the way that it is nurtured, otherwise known as environmental factors?” This includes the influence of hormones on a baby during pregnancy, how the child is nurtured by the parents and the subsequent relationship with the parents and peers as the child grows up, as well as the experiences that the child has.
The traditional family unit based on a heterosexual marriage forms the building block upon which the overall structure of a successful society is derived. Consequently, sexual reproduction is not just a physical act, but one with consequences with immense power to exert an effect on every aspect of society.
Technologies that are used to assist the process of reproduction need to have a solid moral foundation and framework with clearly defined limitations on the techniques employed. The goal of the moral framework employed should be based on the preservation of the family unit.
Based on these points, the fusion of the egg with the sperm for the purposes of reproduction should be limited to married couples. This will ensure that the resulting embryo maintains its biological and social integrity as part of its family unit.
A lack of an ethical framework for the use of reproductive technologies such as egg and sperm donations causes arbitrary use leading inevitably to abuse. For example, fertility clinics in Cape Town are currently running advertisements for couples in the US and the UK to come to South Africa for inexpensive fertility services. The adverts promise multiracial egg donations as part of a “vacation package” which includes sight seeing at the popular holiday destination. Young local students are offered money in exchange for donations of their eggs. In addition to undergoing extensive medical procedures, the donors help produce children with whom they will have no emotional or familial ties.
At the end of the day, the victims are the defenseless children. Furthermore, this type of abuse as well as other irresponsible uses lacking the necessary ethical framework only serve to cause an irreversible damage to the produced child, the traditional family unit and hence all of society eventually.
The only way to ensure that this useful technology is used for the greater good of society is to protect the boundaries within which it is applied and ensure the preservation of the traditional family unit by limiting the fusion of the egg and the sperm to that of married couples only.
Paedophilia, defined as an adult participating in sexual activity with a child, is endemic in South Africa and around the world. Sex with minors has become a proliferating business. In South Africa alone, there were 45000 child prostitutes in 2013. Children are being sold to brothels, clubs and other illegal venues where they are exploited as modern day slaves.
According to statistics 64514 cases of rape were reported in the 2011/2012 financial year ( the figures for the 2012/2013 current financial year are 66387, but more detailed information is still not available) and approximately 45 percent of the victims were children. In fact research has shown that 50 per cent of South Africa’s children will be abused before the age of 18. What’s more is that a child is raped every three minutes in the country. Legal authorities, as well as academic experts, have put partial blame on some traditional healers for the surge in the number of child rapes. The said healers have advised patients who are HIV positive to have sex with a virgin as a “cure” for the disease. Doctors For Life (DFL) strongly advocates that this criminal practice will not cure HIV/AIDS, but will spread the disease to uninfected children.
Though numerous children are forced into the sex trade on the streets, many are reportedly raped by immediate family members. In response to the growing number of sexual abuse cases against children, the South African government has called for a review of “the legislation governing sexual crimes”. Paedophilia is a heinous crime which must be stopped, not only for the safety and protection of minor children, but for the preservation of the moral fibre of South Africa.
Doctors for Life offers help and counselling to paedophiles who wish to find release from this addictive sexual behavior. We also offer support for the many who have been victims of sexual abuse or assault. Please contact DFL for more information.
Prostitution is a hazardous occupation, harmful to the prostitute and her client as well as their families and society. Its negative social effects also include the cost of disease and injuries to which prostitution gives rise. In rape, the security of a woman’s person is assaulted and stolen: in prostitution, it is assaulted, stolen and sold. Women in prostitution not only began poor, they are systematically kept poor by pimps who take the lion’s share of what they earn. Survivors of prostitution often report that each act of prostitution felt like a rape. In order to endure the multiple invasions of their bodies, women use drugs and alcohol to numb the assaults to their dignity and bodily integrity. Soon there remains no integrity and certainly no dignity. Eventually, the women’s physical and emotional health is destroyed
There are numerous reasons why people become involved in prostitution. Many have been affected by a weakening economy, experienced change or loss of households, are coerced by parents/”pimps” or simply because they have low self esteem. It has been estimated that between 28,000 and 30,000 of South Africa’s prostitutes are under the age of 18. Also, about half the child prostitutes are between 10 and 14 years of age and the other half between 15 and 18.3. Their lives are ruled by “pimps” and gangs who often take their money in exchange for protection, food or drugs.
Prostitutes are notorious for not practicing safe sex. In addition, they are often victims of rape and assaults and are at a constant risk of acquiring and spreading HIV/AIDS and other infectious sexually transmitted diseases. Legalisation of prostitution will not end abuse; it will make abuse legal. Legalisation only allows criminals and members of organized crime rings to become legitimate businessmen and work hand-in-hand with the state in marketing women’s bodies. Prostitution is ultimately sexual slavery. Like all forms of slavery, the goal should be to eliminate it, not to make it legal so that it is more controlled.
Doctors for Life (DFL) oppose the legalisation of prostitution, but we support the care and restoration of prostitutes to a life that allows them to be safe and restores their dignity. DFL is committed to helping those who are entrapped by prostitution. DFL has counselling and rehabilitation available for those bound by this lifestyle and profession. There is freedom from prostitution and a new life awaits you.
Drug addiction is responsible for one quarter of all deaths worldwide. Ninety-five percent of untreated addicts die from their addiction, while ninety-seven percent of addicts never seek any treatment. Images of substance abuse are prevalent throughout society. It has been reported that the average twenty year old has seen over 200,000 television commercials encouraging the use of alcohol and tobacco. All addicts will experience a time when they will crave the drug on which they depend, but none will be available and they will suffer withdrawal symptoms. The immediate response is to get the drug to relieve the pain of withdrawal. The reason for withdrawal is that drugs affect the cells of the body and the body counteracts with its own chemicals and adaptation. When the drug on which an addict is dependent is absent from his system, the body continues counteracting the drug even though it is no longer present. This causes irritation, mood swings, insomnia, stress, as well as emotional and physical pain. Acute withdrawal is a definite sign of dependency and addiction. In order to break an addiction, one needs total abstinence from the drug. Help is available through rehabilitation and professional counseling. Although the addiction may seem impossible to overcome, the trial of withdrawal will be small compared to the grip of addiction. Overcoming addiction is much easier with external help: physical, mental and spiritual. Substance abuse is a common illness and freedom can and should be found.