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Parliament rejects MP's abortion Bill

Publish date: 10 September 2018
Issue Number: 790
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

Parliament has rejected the ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley’s private member’s Bill on abortion, which critics have seen as a thinly veiled attempt to roll back women’s hard-won rights to safely terminate unwanted pregnancies. Until the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act came into effect in 1997, abortions were only available in SA under extremely limited conditions, notes Business Day. However, the Act permits abortions within the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, and at a later stage under certain conditions. Dudley has tried to restrict women’s access to abortion before by proposing an amendment to the Constitution to include the right to life of the unborn child. Her Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill was tabled in December 2017 and proposed showing ultrasound images of their foetuses to all women seeking abortions, along with mandatory counselling. It introduced a requirement that for abortions between 13 and 20 weeks, a social worker and a doctor must agree that the pregnancy would significantly affect the socio-economic circumstances of the woman concerned. It also sought to scrap provisions that permit third trimester abortions if there is a risk of injury to foetuses.

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