Parliament Briefed on Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill

Parliament

Parliament was recently briefed on the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill.

The private member’s bill was tabled in parliament in December 2017.

Parliament called for comment on the bill in July 2017.

The bill was drawn up by Cheryllyn Dudley, an African Christian Democratic Party member of parliament.

The proposed legislation seeks to delete certain circumstances in which a pregnancy may be terminated and to ensure that a pregnant woman has access to ultrasound examinations and sufficient mandatory counselling to enable her to make a fully informed choice regarding the termination of her pregnancy.

The bill also seeks to amend the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996 in order to:

•    amend a definition;
•    provide that a medical practitioner and a social worker must both be of the opinion that the continued pregnancy would significantly affect the social or economic circumstances of the woman, where the pregnancy is being terminated under such circumstances;
•    delete the circumstance that a pregnancy may be terminated if it would pose a risk of injury to the fetus;
•    ensure that a pregnant woman has access to ultrasound examinations and sufficient counselling to enable her to make a fully informed choice regarding the termination of her pregnancy;
•    ensure that the State promotes mandatory counselling;
•    repeal the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act of 2004; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

During the briefing to the portfolio committee on health, Cheryllyn Dudley emphasized that the proposed legislation “does not seek to challenge the constitution but to improve the existing provisions in the legislation in line with the constitution.”

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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