South Africa Holds Hearings on Bill Allowing Nurses to Do Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Africa Holds Hearings on Bill Allowing Nurses to Do Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 17,

Pretoria, South Africa ( — The Gauteng Portfolio Committee on Health is holding a hearing today on legislation that allows nurses to do abortions. A leading pro-life group there opposes the bill on those grounds and also because it does not contain language allowing nurses who refuse to do them to protect their jobs.

Doctors for Life International strongly opposes the bill and says it will lobby against it at several hearings planned for it throughout the country.

Tseliso Nkuebe, a representative of the group, told SABC News that "The bill does not recognize either a doctor or a nurse’s right to refuse to do an abortion based on their conscientious objection."

"And this is one of the hopes that we have — the hope being that the portfolio committee will take this submissions seriously and pass them over to parliament when it comes to the tabling of this particular law," Nkuebe added.

The debate on the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act comes a year after Constitutional Court in South Africa invalidated the original bill.
The court found that the nation’s parliament had not allowed enough public participation before adopting the legislation. The court gave the nation’s legislature 18 months to give public input and re-approve the bill.

The court found the National Council of Provinces failed to hold adequate public hearings on the bill despite numerous requests to do so. The hearings now are the ones the court mandated.

Doctors for Life led the fight to overturn the bill in court and a Christian group applauded the decision and their work.

"We thank the Constitutional Court and congratulate Doctors for Life International on this historic victory for participatory democracy," ChristianView Network director Philip Rosenthal said.

"We hope that the reopened debate will overturn this bad law, which prejudices the rights of the unborn, mothers and nurses," he added.

Rosenthal said a survey found 86 percent of South Africa residents opposed allowing nurses to do abortions.