South African anti-abortion groups are calling on Parliament to change their current law regarding abortion to allow medical nurses the right to refuse to perform an abortion based on moral and religious grounds. Anti-abortion groups are also trying to change the law to require parental consent for minors seeking abortion. According to Business Day, the chair of South Africa’s Parliamentary health committee sees a change in the current law as unlikely because medical personnel cannot refuse to perform other services that a patient might request.
The bill being considered by Parliament, the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, aims to allow women more access to abortion services. It will also allow both trained registered nurses and midwives to perform abortions. The bill also gives health care facilities that provide 24-hour maternal health care services automatic authority to perform abortion up to 12 weeks of term.
Currently, abortion is legal in South Africa without restriction.