New Abortion Law Passed, More Abortions Expected

( [email protected] ) Aug 24, 2004 08:33 PM EDT

On August 19, South Africa lawmakers passed the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, a new law that allows doctors, midwives, and nurses to perform abortions up until the 12th week of pregnancy without consent of a medical board.

The new abortion law will overrule many requirements that the old law held. Under the provision of the old law, an abortion was only legal if done in cases of rape, incest, a threat to the physical health of the mother and the child. However, lawmakers have omitted these regulations in the newly approved law.

The law is a controversial topic for debate because under previous law, there were as many as thousands of abortions yearly. For that matter, the new one will open the floodgates for many times more.

South Africa deputy President Jacob Zuma defended the bill, and accused those who opposed it of racism. Mr. Zuma argued that the requisite steps to obtaining the abortion were easier for white women than black women.

Statistics shows that over 61 percent of abortions in South Africa are performed on white women.

Meanwhile, opponents argued that the new law will increase abortion rate as well as putting pressure on medical professionals to perform abortions, even against their will. Most important of all, it is the ethical issue as unborn children are being killed before they are born.

"We note with great sadness that 330,000 innocent human lives have been destroyed since the Abortion Act came into operation in 1997. There is no doubt that the aim of the proposed amendment is to increase the number of abortions in our country and as a Church we deplore this onslaught on the lives of the unborn," the Bishops of South Africa Catholic Church commented regarding the new abortion law.