by Steven Ertelt
February 7, 2008
Pretoria, South Africa (LifeNews.com) — The parliament in South Africa has approved a bill that would tear down some of the very low limits on legal abortions and allow nurses and midwives to do them. The measure does away with any requirements that abortions be done in hospitals, paving the way for freestanding abortion businesses.
It also removes any of the pre-abortion requirements before an abortion can be done.
The legislation now heads to President Thabo Mbeki to sign.
During the debate in the parliament’s upper house, Joyce Masilo, a deputy from the ruling African National Congress, said the measure "promotes quality health care."
But, pro-life advocates oppose the law and say that girls as young as 12 can get abortions up to 20 weeks into pregnancy without any limits.
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, 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.
The bill’s passage comes less than a month after officials there arrested eleven people who were involved in operating an illegal abortion center that subjected women to disgusting and unsanitary conditions.
The centers conditions were so deplorable that local officials were amazed.