Women's 'Rights on Line' as MPs Weigh Up Abortions Bill

Cape Times (South Africa), January 17, 2008 | Go to article overview

Women's 'Rights on Line' as MPs Weigh Up Abortions Bill


BYLINE: NATASHA JOSEPH

IF the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill is not passed by Parliament today, South Africa will be reversing "gains made for women's rights", the Reproductive Rights Alliance (RRA) says.

But the group, which comprises representatives of a number of NGOs and academics in the fields of women's health and reproduction, says it is "hopeful" that the controversial bill will be adopted.

"The ANC as a ruling party is committed to women's rights in general," said Mosotho Gabriel, South African director of Ipas, a global organisation represented in the RRA.

"We're hoping that (today) this will be a closed chapter. We hope (the bill) will be passed."

Gabriel described the lobby against abortion as "an intense global movement of people who are trying to take away the rights of women".

As the principal Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act had been passed, maternal mortality had been reduced by 91% and legal abortions performed in registered health care facilities had reduced "long-term (medical) complications" after abortion by 50%.

The amendment bill, designed to improve access to termination of pregnancy facilities, was not passed during the final sitting last year because a quorum was not be reached. …

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