The Committee Secretary
The Portfolio Committee on Health
Mr Saazi Vuke
Fax: (021) 403 2854
29 July 2003
Dear Sir or Madam
COMMENTS ON THE CHOICE OF TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY BILL, b72 – 20003
Following your advertisement in the Sunday Times concerning written submission and verbal application with regards to the proposed Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, we would like to raise the following arguments against the new amendment bill:
- The fact that clinics and hospitals will now qualify "automatically" without officially being designated by the Minister is a recipe for disaster and confusion that will definitely increase the pressure on pro-life health professionals to take part in abortion. Doctors and nurses of surrounding clinics and hospitals may assume that a particular facility does qualify to do abortion. Consequently they may initiate abortions with Misoprostil (as is already happening to a large extent) and instruct patients to go the particular facility once they start bleeding, without knowing whether pro-abortion staff is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to manage the patient. Under the new legislation, more clinics will be available to administer the Misoprostil tablets without an increase in pro-abortion health practitioners; Pro-life practitioners may feel ethically pressured to complete the abortion procedure. With the increased availability of Misoprostil, the amount of deaths may also increase (and this liability would fall on the Minister of Health). Doctor’s For Life International is already awaiting a response from the Minister on an enquiry of the unnatural deaths of women in the Free State Province due to inappropriate use of Misoprostil.
- This legislation is an effort to make abortion more available and accessible to women in South Africa while the rest of the world is becoming stricter on the availability of abortions. Based on new medical evidence which testifies that the unborn fetus is indeed a human being, England has become stricter regarding the availability of abortion. DFL find it strange that at the same time, South Africa appears to be becoming more lenient.
- Doctors for Life warned that in 1996, adequate structures were not in place in South Africa to legalize abortion. Once again we would like to warn the government that this legislation may constitute a reckless experiment with the public of South Africa for which the government may be held legally accountable in the future.
Therefore, DFL would hereby like to request a slot to make a verbal presentation to the Portfolio Committee on this issue.
Trusting our request will be met by your kind consideration.
DR ALBU VAN EEDEN
- CEO -