PRESS RELEASEUNBORN BABIES’ ‘DAY IN COURT’ HAS FINALLY ARRIVED - 4 NOVEMBER
PRESS RELEASE BY CAUSE FOR JUSTICE: 4 NOVEMBER 2021
* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *
SUBJECT: “PRESS RELEASE: UNBORN BABIES’ ‘DAY IN COURT’ HAS FINALLY ARRIVED”
This afternoon, Cause for Justice (CFJ) will be asking the Constitutional Court to protect and promote the value of unborn human life. The human rights organisation regards ‘human dignity’ as a cornerstone value of the South African Constitution. It will present legal arguments and evidence to assist the Court with what it believes is the crux of the case: recognising the inherent worth of all human beings, including unborn babies.
The Voice of the Unborn Baby court case
In March 2021, the Pretoria High Court delivered a landmark judgment. It recognised that parents who suffer miscarriage have the right to bury the remains of their deceased baby and declared sections of the Births and Deaths Registration Act unconstitutional.  According to this law, babies who die prior to 26 weeks in the womb, are and must be incinerated with “medical waste”. 
The High Court recognised that the fundamental rights of some (but not all) bereaved parents were being infringed by the prohibition against receiving their child’s remains for burial: i.e. only those who lost an unborn baby due to “natural causes”. CFJ was greatly disappointed by the Court’s failure to extend this right to parents whose unborn babies die due to “human intervention”,  calling it an “arbitrary distinction and unfair discrimination”.
In the Constitutional Court proceedings
The Constitutional Court will now consider the High Court decision and hear appeals against various aspects of the High Court order.  CFJ is acting as an amicus curiae party (or “friend of the court”) in the constitutional proceedings. It will focus on the relationship between unborn human life and the constitutional value of human dignity – and on what it regards as the question at the heart of the case: does all human life have inherent dignity (value/worth)? The human rights organisation insists that the answer to this question holds far-reaching implications for how society should treat the remains of the unborn.
Cause for Justice hopes that the Constitutional Court will extend the High Court order by doing away with the unjust distinction between parents.  The presence or absence of an “intervention” does not determine whether parents are bereaved or not, it says. But CFJ sees an even more fundamental issue: that an unborn baby’s life has value because the baby is a “human being” and has “human life”. It argues that the value of unborn life cannot be determined by whether the baby’s parents wanted it to live or die, or the manner in which the baby died. Ultimately, this is what Cause for Justice wants South Africa’s highest court to recognise: the inherent worth of all human beings, including unborn babies.
[PRESS RELEASE ENDS]
For further queries, contact CFJ at:
Tel: 074 355 0775
-  The court declared certain sections of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 and clauses of the Regulations Relating to the Management of Human Remains, 2013 unconstitutional to the extent that it denied parents the right to bury the remains of an unborn baby who died of natural causes before 26 weeks of gestation in the womb.
-  Remains of medical and/or surgical procedures.
-  “Human intervention” includes medical negligence and abortion.
-  The Constitutional Court has the power to confirm, amend, or replace the High Court order with an order of its own.
-  Based on whether their baby died due to “human intervention” or as a result of “natural causes”.
Read more about CFJ’s involvement in the case here:
- Mail & Guardian op-ed – 2021.04.14 – High court ruling to allow parents to bury unborn babies offers dignity, but not to all.
- CFJ blog post – 2021.04.07 – On deciding ‘Who is human?’.
- CFJ blog post – 2019.11.07 – The question at the heart of it all.
- CFJ cause page – Voice of the Unborn Baby court case.
Previous press releases:
- 2021.10.12 – Constitutional Court asked to acknowledge the humanity of unborn babies
- 2021.03.31 – ‘Not wanted’ does not equal ‘not human’.
- 2019.11.15 – Voice of The Unborn Baby – Final day of court hearing.
- 2019.11.14 – Voice of The Unborn Baby – First day of court hearing.
- 2019.09.02 – Right to bury miscarried babies to be decided soon.