Amending the Abortion Act
UPDATE (September 2018): CHOICE ON TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY AMENDMENT BILL (the Bill)
On 4 September 2018, the Portfolio Committee on Health (the committee) reported to the National Assembly (the First House of Parliament) that the committee has found the Bill to be undesirable. The committee emphasised that it is committed to ensuring that every woman is able to make a choice with regard to her reproductive health. It seems the committee had failed to understand that one of the primary objectives of the Bill is exactly to enable women to make a better choice for herself and for her unborn child.
While it is disappointing that the Bill has been rejected by Parliament, Hon Dudley, MP remarked that the Bill achieved that what she hoped it would. Business Day reported Hon Dudley, MP, as saying:
“Discussions were held, and we are starting to learn as a country how to disagree more respectfully. This is a difficult issue and people do get worked up, but when I gave my declaration in the house it was sombre. There has been a big attempt by everyone to hear the other’s argument.”
CFJ remains committed to promoting and protecting the inherent worth of all human life and will continue to engage in initiatives and causes to achieve justice for the unborn.
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:
WE HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. A CHANCE TO SAVE INNOCENT LIVES. LET’S DO THIS, LET’S SAVE THEM!!!