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Amending SA’s Abortion Act

On August 8, 2017, Posted by , In Causes,

BACKGROUND: What is it about?

A Member of Parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley, has proposed an Amendment to South Africa’s Abortion Act (Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996).

The draft bill seeks to amend the Abortion Act by, amongst others,

  • deleting certain circumstances in which a pregnancy may be terminated; and
  • to enable a pregnant woman to make a fully informed choice regarding the termination of her pregnancy, to ensure that she has access to –
    • ultrasound examinations and
    • sufficient mandatory counselling.

The deadline for indicating “in principle” support for this Amendment was 11 August 2017.

According to Hon Dudley, MP, the further progress of the Amendment thereafter, will be as follows:

“After the 11 August which is the cut off date for comments – the input will be collated and suggestions will be seriously considered by the ACDP as amendments to improve this draft. It will then be sent to the Speaker to be formally tabled and referred to the relevant committee. In this case it would be the Health PC [Portfolio Committee].

If the bill is referred to the committee by September 2017 and included in the committee programme before the end of 2017 I will be given a chance to present the bill and law advisors will be consulted. Then the public process of submissions and hearings could begin early in 2018.” (https://www.facebook.com/cheryllyn.verdondudley/posts/10209777203134841)

From Cause for Justice’s perspective, the remainder of 2017 represents a preparatory period in which to obtain the best research, both local and international, to be prepared to make convincing submissions (submissions of considerable substance) to the Health PC by early 2018.

RISKS, DANGERS AND OPPORTUNITY: What is at stake?

The Amendment will increase the chances of innocent unborn babies to be born alive. If we do nothing, the current scourge of abortion on demand virtually up to the final term of pregnancy, will continue unabated.

SOLUTION: What can be done? What can you/we do?

Each person in South Africa has a voice. The time is NOW to SPEAK UP on behalf of unborn children. Supporting this cause, entails a couple of phases:

PHASE 1:  OPPORTUNITY FOR EACH SOUTH AFRICAN TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT DIRECTLY (UP TO 11 AUGUST 2017)

PHASE 2:  OPPORTUNITY FOR CAUSE FOR JUSTICE TO MAKE DETAILED SUBMISSIONS ON THE AMENDMENT TO PARLIAMENT (BOTH WRITTEN (DURING PUBLIC CONSULTATION) AND ORAL (AT PUBLIC HEARINGS))

During this phase, Cause for Justice will commit considerable resources to conduct the necessary research and draft submissions to Parliament in respect of the Amendment.

You can support this cause by:

 

PHASE 3: DEPENDING ON PARLIAMENT’S RESPONSE TO PUBLIC CONSULTATION, TAKE FURTHER ACTION

This may include, amongst others:

  • Writing to the Presidency, requesting intervention
  • Challenging any unconstitutional action or wording in the Bill through court action

 

WE HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. A CHANCE TO SAVE INNOCENT LIVES. LET’S DO THIS, LET’S SAVE THEM!!!

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PHASE 1: DETAILED DISCUSSION (ended on 11 August 2017)

To support this cause, follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Copy the following text into the body of a new e-mail message:

“Dear Madam Speaker of the National Assembly,

I support the amendments to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, proposed by Cheryllyn Dudley, MP in the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill (the Bill). I agree with the proposals made in the Bill – I agree with both the purpose/intent and the effect of the proposals – which I understand, amongst others, will result in:

  • A shift in policy to assist women to save the lives of their children and/or care for their children, rather than aborting them due to social or economic inadequacies, at a time when the baby has been living in the womb for more than 12 weeks.
  • Doing away with a vague and overbroad ground for abortion after 20 weeks of life in the womb (risk of injury to the baby), which ground is in any event provided for in other existing grounds (if the baby suffers from a severe physical or mental abnormality, or continuation of the pregnancy would result in severe malformation of the baby).
  • The provision of ultrasound examinations to a pregnant woman, to enable her to make a fully informed choice regarding the termination of her pregnancy.
  • The provision of adequate mandatory counselling to pregnant women contemplating the termination of their pregnancies, to assist pregnant women to make fully informed choices, as well as aftercare counselling to women who have chosen to terminate their pregnancies.”

Remember to include your name and city/town of residence at the bottom of the e-mail.

    2. Insert the following text into the subject line of the e-mail:

        “SUPPORT: Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment”

   3. Send the e-mail to the following two e-mail addresses (and remember to request a confirmation of receipt):

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