1887

n Journal for Juridical Science - Conscientious objection and legal abortion in South Africa : delineating the parameters

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Abstract

<b>Gewetensbeswaar en wettige vrugafdrywing in Suid-Afrika : bepaling van die grense</b> <br>Die oogmerk van die artikel is om die grense van die reg op gewetensbeswaar van gesondheidsdienswerkers in verband met deelname aan vrugafdrywingsprosedures ingevolge die <I>Wet op die Keuse van Beëindiging van Swangerskap&lt;/I&gt; te ondersoek. Die Wet swyg oor die reg op gewetensbeswaar. 'n Reg op gewetensbeswaar teen deelname aan vrugafdrywingsprosedures is egter implisiet in artikel 15 van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika vervat. Dit word aan die hand gedoen dat terwyl die <I>Wet op die Keuse van Beëindiging van Swangerskap&lt;/I&gt; in gebreke bly om die reg op gewetensbeswaar te reguleer, artikel 36 van die Grondwet riglyne hiervoor verskaf. Artikel 36 ondersteun die beperking van die reg op gewetensbeswaar in die geval waar die moeder se lewe of gesondheid ernstig in gevaar is of indien daar 'n mediese noodgeval voorkom. Verder, in die besondere omstandighede van Suid- Afrika, kan geargumenteer word dat artikel 36 die oplê van 'n verpligting om ten minste aan die verwagtende vrou inligting te verskaf oor waar vrugafdrywing gedoen kan word, ondersteun. Dit word aangetoon dat dit moeilik is om vas te stel watter partye, anders as die gesondheidswerkers wat direk by die vrugafdrywing betrokke is, op 'n reg op getwetensbeswaar aanspraak sou kon maak. Artikel 36 is egter weereens 'n handige rigsnoer in hierdie verband.

The purpose of this article is to delineate the scope and limitations of the exercise of the right to conscientious objection in respect of participation in abortion procedures under the <I>Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act</I>. The Act is silent about the right to conscientious objection. However, section 15 of the South African Constitution in particular, implicitly accommodates conscientious objection to abortion. It is submitted that whilst the <I>Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act&lt;/I&gt; fails to provide the principles for determining the limits of the right to conscientious objection, guidance can be derived from section 36 of the Constitution. It is submitted that section 36 supports the limitation of the right to conscientious objection where maternal life or health is in serious danger or there is a medical emergency. Furthermore, it is argued that in the particular circumstances of South Africa, section 36 is also capable of supporting the imposition of a duty to at least provide the pregnant woman with information about where she might be able to obtain an abortion. It is noted that determining the parties that are entitled to conscientious objection beyond health care professionals that are immediately involved with abortion procedures can raise difficult issues. However, section 36 of the Constitution is, once again, a useful tool for resolving any difficulties in this regard.

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/content/juridic/28/1/EJC55500
2003-06-01
2016-12-05
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