11 June 2014

South Africa: Minister Bathabile Dlamini - Reproductive Justice's Newly Vocal Champion


On Tuesday night, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini gave a speech which may not get the attention it deserves.

It has been exceedingly rare in recent years for a South African politician to stand up and unequivocally, unapologetically affirm a woman's right to have an abortion. This week, Minister Dlamini has done just that. By REBECCA DAVIS.

When was the last time you heard a South African politician give an unqualified statement in support of abortion? When Nelson Mandela died last December, we were reminded - thanks to posthumous character attacks from right-wing religious groups - just how outspoken Mandela was in advocating for a woman's right to decide on abortion. It's become substantially rarer since.

Of course, it wasn't just Mandela who oversaw the passing of 1996's Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act. An interesting report by GenderLinks credits consistent pressure from ANC women and civil society; the commitment of first Health Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the issue; and the championing of the bill by Dr Abe Nkomo, the chair of the Parliamentary portfolio committee on health.

With one of the most liberal pieces of abortion legislation in the world in place for going on two decades, the abortion ...

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