Tag: Abortion

 SAfm interview on Amnesty International’s position on safe and legal abortion

As delegates from around the world meet in Poland today to debate Amnesty International’s position on safe and legal abortion, ACDP Member of Parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley, who championed the ACDP’s Choice of Termination on Pregnancy Amendment Bill of 2017, was invited on air to share her thoughts on SAfm this morning.

Below is an excerpt of her comments on the subject matter.

“The ACDP believes in the sanctity of human life and looks forward to a time when the life of an unborn child will be given the reasonable protection it deserves.

The amendments in the ACDP’s private members proposal recently aimed to provide for a greater degree of consideration and protection for both women experiencing a crisis pregnancy and for the child they are carrying.  The hope is that a greater appreciation and respect for women and for life will take root in our cultural perspective without violating freedom of choice or freedom of belief.

Not only has science progressed but, in South Africa, our democracy has too. We are in a better space today to have meaningful and respectful interactions across hard and fast positions in order to improve existing legislation without imposing or trampling on peoples freedom to choose.  Creating opportunities to diffuse the divisive situation where countries feel ‘super liberal’ ideas and policies are being imposed on them and that people are being demonised for holding beliefs that differ from these liberal ideas, we need to bridge a growing divide which impacts on freedom of belief on both sides or we will continue to see a backlash of equally extreme reactions.

Section 12(2)(a) of the Constitution provides that “everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to make decisions concerning reproduction”.  The ACDP amendment provided for mandatory counselling precisely to enhance this constitutional right so that women are in fact equipped to make an informed choice. In a society where people value freedom to choose they also value transparency and access to information so that those choices are informed choices.  Information not only about the foetus growing inside them but about support available would include access to relevant social grants, safe-housing and information on contraceptive measures, etc.  This would not be for the purpose of taking away choice but providing all information needed before such a life-changing decision is taken.

With over 100,000 recorded abortions a year in South Africa and many of these being repeat abortions, more information could only help women make better choices regarding contraception and safer sex.  Many estimate the actual stats to be closer to 200,000 abortions a year as a result of the department’s policy on abortion pills being dispensed and girls then returning when miscarriages occur.

To address discrimination against babies conceived by women in low income families or in challenging social and economic circumstances the original amendment proposed the deletion of the clause removing social and economic circumstances as a ground for termination after 13 weeks. However, having considered the many submissions and the potential for possible unintended consequences it was decided that by adding a social worker’s experience and opinion to that of a medical practitioner in the second trimester, access to alternative solutions would be available for consideration.

Today we know so much more than we did in 1996 and babies are recognised as viable at 18 weeks into a pregnancy.  We also know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion. This is motivating more countries to consider tightening abortion laws.  In Norway, for example, midwives voiced concerns about the number of healthy babies sufficiently viable to survive outside the womb that were being aborted on ‘social grounds’. Their intervention led to a change in the law and their health minister, Anne Grethe Erlandsen, in 2014 saying “Abortion should not happen in foetuses who have the possibility of being able to live”.

With this in mind, the ACDP had proposed the deletion of the reference to ‘a risk of injury to the foetus’ as a valid reason to terminate an otherwise viable baby after 20 weeks of gestation, as it is vague and an excessive response, especially since every birth could be said to pose a risk of injury to the foetus.”


ISSUED BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
6 June 2018

Statement on the acceptance by the PC on Health that the CTOP Amendment Bill is not desirable at this stage

“On behalf of the ACDP I would like to thank the Health Portfolio Committee for considering the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill concerning a topic which is clearly difficult and unpleasant for many of you. I assure you we share similar sentiments and feel your pain. 

I would especially like to thank those members who felt they would have liked the committee to apply their minds further with a view to addressing what could feasibly have been addressed such as terminating viable babies in the third trimester simply because there is a risk of injury. We accept, however, the committee’s decision recognising that, “at this stage,”  the bill is not desirable.

As this is a subject of great public interest and a precedent has been set in this regard, I would like to request that the Motion of Desirability be debated in the House. Being able to openly discuss these painful issues helps all South Africans feel they are part of nation-building and not marginalised or ignored.

To my constituents, I promise that if I am back in Parliament after the 2019 election, I will continue these efforts to better protect moms and their babies in times of crisis.  We continue to learn much, we have touched hearts and given many who are defensive greater confidence to apply their minds: not close them. The media have bravely aired the issue and a more positive country debate has been started. I am grateful to God for this opportunity and to once again see his hand in all we do. Thank you Jesus.”


READ: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health on the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill [B34-2017] dated 9 May 2018


ISSUED BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
9 May 2018

 

CTOP Amendment Bill: Intimidation tactics by Health MPs distract from relevance of proposed bill

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “The intimidation tactics used by members of the Health Committee, especially ANC and EFF members, were aimed to distract other MPs from grasping the relevance of the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy (CTOP) Amendment Bill. Calling women in politics ‘emotional’ is a well-known intimidation tactic experienced by women in politics globally”.

In response to one ANC MP’s comment that “one miserable child” doesn’t matter, Dudley said that, “The ACDP does not agree that there is ever a miserable child, only children in miserable circumstances”.

Dudley further said that “Although MPs accused me of being emotional, my observation was that the topic prompted a very emotional angry response from some who appeared ready with their reaction even though most of what was said did not apply to the proposed amendments.  For example, an EFF member ‘went off’ about rape and screamed that I must not be allowed back in the committee.”

Dudley apologised to committee members for offending them with her honest responses to their questions and thanked them for their questions and responses which she appreciated.

“Yesterday was not pleasant but the subject is not pleasant. It touches very deep painful places in people,” Dudley said.


ISSUED BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
28 March 2018

Why pro-life Christians should support ACDP’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill

I would like to speak to you today about why pro-life Christians should support the ACDP’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill which is presently before the National Assembly.

In 2007, on behalf of the ACDP in the National Assembly, I put forward proposals for a private member’s bill to amend the Constitution. In 2010, I proposed legislation to amend the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. The first proposal was to include the right to life of the unborn child in the Constitution and the second was to ensure a more fully informed choice is possible regarding the termination of a pregnancy.

Both bills found no support from any political parties in Parliament other than from the ACDP, and were rejected.

The reality from a political point of view is that until pro-life voters are in the majority in South Africa and they decide to vote for a party who understands their concerns – the life of an unborn child will not be given reasonable protection.

One of the many things that occurred to me through the experience of working on the first two private member’s bills was the choice I had.  A choice to either draft an obviously unconstitutional bill expressing the desires of the more serious Christian community only, knowing it would not get any support and nothing would actually change – or I could carefully contemplate and research what could in fact be improved on within the ambit of the constitution and concentrate on doing what can be done.

Working from this premise I proposed Labour Law legislation which was actually passed in the National Assembly on 28 November 2017.  This is the first Private Members bill and the first opposition party members bill to be passed by the National Assembly.  The legislation provides for parental and adoption leave.

During 2017, on behalf of the ACDP, I introduced the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2017, in Parliament.  This legislation – which is not about whether or not abortion can be condoned for any reason – challenges the present situation which facilitates abortion on demand in the broadest sense.

I will be arguing that the intention of the legislators in 1996 to increase restrictions on termination of pregnancy in line with the development of the baby in the womb is clearly illustrated, yet overly broad and vague clauses, appear to have been slipped in and contradict and nullify this intention.

The amendment aims to ensure greater protection of a women’s right to apply her mind to relevant facts and information in order to make an informed choice and aims to ensure through mandatory as opposed to non-mandatory counseling that adequate budgets are made available for this purpose.

Discrimination against babies conceived by women in low income families or in challenging social and financial circumstances is addressed by adding a social worker’s experience and opinion to that of a medical practitioner in the second trimester; and the deletion of the reference to ‘a risk of injury to the fetus’ as a valid reason to terminate an otherwise viable baby after 20 weeks of gestation as it is vague and an excessive response, especially since every birth could be said to pose a risk of injury to the fetus.

Some European countries are now considering tightening their abortion laws. For example, in Norway, midwives have voiced concerns about the number of healthy babies… sufficiently viable to survive outside the womb… being aborted on ‘social grounds’ beyond the usual 12-week limit. Their intervention in this traditionally liberal country, I am told, has led to a change in the law.

Across Europe, many liberals are increasingly coming to regard late abortions where babies are often born alive and have to be left to die, as barbaric.  And more women ministers in socialist countries are also rejecting the argument that limiting late abortions is anti-women.

Today we know so much more than we did in 1996 and babies are recognised as viable at 18 weeks into a pregnancy. We also know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion – a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child.  It seems to me that in 2018 we stand a far better chance than ever before of having meaningful and respectful interactions across hard and fast positions in order to improve existing legislation without imposing on peoples freedom to choose.

The amendments in the private member’s proposal provide for a greater degree of consideration and protection for both women experiencing a crisis pregnancy and for the child they are carrying.

The hope is that a greater appreciation and respect for life will take root in our cultural perspective. There is also the possibility that some through accessing relevant information and help will not feel they have to take the life of their child.

Some Christians have expressed heartfelt concern that this approach is a compromise, which of course it is.  We live in a diverse society and compromise for the sake of living in relative peace and harmony is a given, keeping in mind that when a majority of people in SA decide to stand up for ‘the right of an unborn child to life’ and vote in line with their convictions, the compromise will more meaningfully reflect this view.

Fortunately many of those who reacted negatively, reconsidered when they were asked if they were saying the life of one child was not worth saving if we cannot save the lives of all babies.

The majority of voters are presently pro-choice, even if not pro-abortion, and of those, many are vociferous defenders of super liberal abortion laws.

The ACDP hopes that this legislation will give these people an opportunity to reconsider their views on abortion.  We also hope that it will result in many more women, given the opportunity to consider the truth about what is happening in their body will decide to access options or help, available to them and choose to bring their child into the world alive.  In terms of research done this will not often be the case – but a percentage of women do change their minds and are grateful they did.”


SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
Pro-life demonstration, Parliament
1 February 2018