12 December 2017

South Africa: The 'Choice On the Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill' and Its Moral Shortcomings


The proposed Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill leads one to suspect that its primary aim is simply to prevent as many abortions from taking place as possible, given the current confines of the law. By TANYA DE VILLIERS-BOTHA.

Professedly, the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill is aimed at providing pregnant women with "access to ultrasound services" and "counselling" so as to allow them to make an "informed choice" regarding the termination of their pregnancy.

In this way, the proposed amendments to the Termination of Pregnancy Act are being passed off as being beneficial to the women who will be affected by it. However, the proposed amendments have deeply problematic, even immoral implications which completely undermine any claims that it will benefit women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.

Take the fact that, under this Bill, those seeking to terminate their pregnancies will be made to undergo mandatory counselling. The morality of requiring patients seeking access to a medical service to undergo counselling is itself open to debate. Nonetheless, a case can perhaps be made that given the difficult situation faced by women seeking an abortion, such counselling can be of benefit to them. Any such argument in...

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