Bid for scan before abortions

The African Christian Democratic Party is proposing a bill to amend the Termination of Pregnancy Act to ensure women receiving an abortion after 12 weeks must first receive an ultra-sound and counselling.

The ACDP’s Cheryllyn Dudley said yesterday a mandatory ultrasound would show the women visuals of their foetus to help ensure they knew what they were about to do.

“It is a huge decision – and a decision about life and death. Women need that information,” Dudley said.

She also wants women considering abortion after 12 weeks to have counselling. “We want to ensure that women who feel they do not have any alternative can hear what options are available to them,” she said.

“The bill is to protect women at a very difficult time. We need to be a society that provides a safety net to the women.”

Dudley said they needed to be informed about adoption and that it was as an option.

“No child should ever be a child that deserves to die, simply because its parents feel they can’t afford a child.”

The bill is open for public comment until August 11.

It will then be presented to a parliamentary private bill committee and likely opened for public hearings. Asked if the health system was able to offer every woman wanting to terminate pregnancy an ultrasound‚ Dudley said: “South Africa needs to get with the 21st century. It is a simple technology.”

Marion Stevens‚ a pro-termination of pregnancy advocate‚ said of the bill: “I think the ACDP is trying to get relevance before 2019, when general elections will be held.”

In any event‚ there was a shortage of state doctors willing to do abortions, she said.

“Because our health system is falling apart‚ there isn’t anyone available for public-sector abortions. Only three do it in the Western Cape.”

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