by Steven Ertelt
November 23, 2007
Pretoria, South Africa (LifeNews.com) — The South Africa House failed to approve a bill that would have allowed nurses and midwives to do abortions there. All bills in the legislature needed approval by Thursday and not enough MPs were present to form a quorum to allow a vote on the measure.
The measure also makes it easier to start an abortion facility in the nation.
The ANC party accused the Democratic Alliance of deliberately sabotaging the Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill’s passage by not showing up for the vote.
ANC chief whip Isaac Mogase told the iAfrica news service that DA parliamentary leader Sandra Botha had taken the "unprecedented step of deliberately sabotaging the quorum" before the vote.
"The act of deliberately sabotaging the quorum of the Assembly goes against established practices and working relationships amongst parties in Parliament," he said.
However, Botha told the news service that the ANC was trying to make the parliament go against the rules — something the DA legislators refused to do.
With Parliament having risen for the year, a special legislative day would have to be called in order to approve the bill before a three year deadline the Constitutional Court set to approve it.
Parliament approved the pro-abortion measure in 2004 but the Constitutional Court ruled there had to be public consultation in the provinces.
Doctors for Life International had strongly opposed the bill and 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."
Meanwhile, a pro-life group has offered a R5,000 reward to anyone who can find an African National Congress MP willing to defend abortion legislation in a radio debate.
The group, the ChristianView Network, made the offer ahead of the Thursday debate on the bill.
It said in a statement on Thursday morning that in 2004, when the bill first went to Parliament, it offered a similar prize of R2,000.
“In three years, no one has claimed the prize. Today we raise the offered reward to R5,000,” it said. “ChristianView Network argues that if the government doesn’t have courage to debate the bill and allow a free vote in Parliament, then it should not be law.”
ChristianView Network director Philip Rosenthal said a survey found 86 percent of South Africa residents opposed allowing nurses to do abortions.
South Africa introduced new abortion laws in 1997 and the pro-abortion group Ipas says that, since then, 500,000 women there have had abortions.