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18 June AD 2003
Maternal Child and Women’s Health (Dr. Mhlanga)
e-mail: [email protected]
Submission "Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2003.
We are concerned that the proposed amendments to the "Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996" are directed at facilitating what the majority of South Africans regard as an appalling act, the killing of unborn children. Much attention has been given to the so-called problems associated with the abortion industry allegedly caused by pro-life medical staff who refuse to be involved in the taking of human life.
Sadly, the proposed Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2003, as it stands, does nothing to support pro-life South Africans in their choice to not only stand back from abortion but also to campaign for its reduction and eventual elimination. We are very concerned about the proposal that registered nurses be authorised to perform abortions. We are also very disturbed about cases on record where children have survived termination of pregnancy procedures and where no action to preserve life was taken. With these thoughts in mind we respectfully make the following three proposals for inclusion in the Proposed Amendment Bill 2003:
The following be added to subsection (1) of section 6 of the proposed "Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2003"
(e) Threatens, harasses, coerces or discriminates against medical personnel who refuse to participate in the termination of a pregnancy because it is against their conscience or religious belief,
(f) Refuses or neglects to administer ordinary life-saving care to a child who has survived a termination of pregnancy procedure,
By the addition, after the phrase "10 years" in the last paragraph of subsection (1) of section 6, of the following .....provided that in the case of (f) above the offence shall be dealt with by the law applicable to a charge of manslaughter.
SECOND PROPOSAL: The following new section be added to the Amendment Bill 2003.
Section 9 "Treatment of a child who survives a termination of pregnancy procedure".
Should a child survive a termination of pregnancy procedure it shall be the duty of the person who carried out the procedure to apply all necessary life-sustaining measures, including the supply of food and water, to the survivor .
The following new section be added to the Amendment Bill 2003.
Section 10 "Constitutional Rights of medical personnel".
All facilities approved for the termination of a pregnancy shall display, in prominent places, notices reading as follows: "Your Constitutional Right NOT to be involved in termination of pregnancy procedures".
All staff are reminded that it is their constitutional right to refuse to be involved in any way in termination of pregnancy procedures. They are also advised that in terms of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996 as amended, anyone who threatens, coerces, harasses or discriminates against medical personnel because they refuse to participate in termination of pregnancy procedures, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years.