Mr James Ngculu
The Committee Chair
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health
Attn: Ms D. Martin
30 July 2004
Stop the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act
The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa represents 26 service agencies and 27 denominations in South Africa.
The Evangelical Alliance continues to express the strongest possible objection to the killing of thousands of innocent unborn babies under the ‘Choice on Termination of Pregnancy (CTOP) Act, 1996. Further, we object to the pressure that has been placed on Christian medical staff to participate against their consciences in the process of killing of these babies. We also object to the psychological and sometimes physical harm inflicted on mothers who have abortions, often without being properly informed of the risks involved. Churches often become involved in counseling mothers who have been harmed in this way.
Human Life is sacred and parliament has no right to pass a law allowing the killing of its innocent citizens.
We express concern that the proposed ‘Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill’ will not help anyone and will rather greatly increase harm to unborn babies, their mothers and health workers.
The proposals for nurses to perform abortions and to designate all healthcare facilities with 24-hour maternity services as places to kill unborn babies would:
increase the risks of physical harm to mothers;
the exposure of nurses to pressure to be involved in the killing against their consciences;
and the number of babies killed.
The proposal to decrease the reporting requirements would decrease controls and thus increase the risk of physical harm to mothers. If anything, reporting requirements should be increased for example to make injuries and deaths notifiable.
We request that the C.T.O.P. Act be repealed. If parliament is unwilling to do so at present, we request that the currently proposed amendment bill be replaced with one promoting informed consent for mothers and strengthening the protection of conscientiously objecting health workers.
Informed consent laws could for example:
require mothers to be shown pictures of unborn babies;
information on physical and psychological health risks;
be given information on alternatives to abortion;
encouragement to discuss with family;
and be given a waiting period to reconsider their decision.
Rev Barry Isaacs
Chairman, The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa