South Africa’s first democratically-elected Parliament enacted the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act on 11 December 1996. Abortion in South Africa was legal only under very restricted circumstances until 1 February 1997, when the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (Act 92 of 1996) came into effect, stipulate abortion on demand for a variety of cases.
The legislation guaranteed any female of any age can do an abortion by simply requesting with no ground given if she is less than 13 weeks of pregnancy. If she is between 13 and 20 weeks pregnant, she can get the abortion if
If she is more than 20 weeks pregnant, she can do the abortion only if she or the fetus life is in risk or there are likely to be serious birth defects.
Before the sanctioning of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion was governed by the Abortion and Sterilization Act, 1975, which possibly permitted abortions when the woman's mental or physical health was seriously undermined, there was a probability that the child would be born with a severe handicap, or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. It required the approval of two doctors independent of the one who handles the abortion and in some cases also of a psychiatrist or a magistrate.
After the enactment of the Act in 1997, there has been a dramatic growth in the number of abortion in public health care institutions. The private sector has also reacted to the necessity to provide the services.
Dr. Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Health, at the time of debates on termination of pregnancy in 1995, said that ‘No woman enjoys having a pregnancy terminated. Therefore as a society, we should strive to prevent by caring. I shall be the happiest person, if, one day, even in the presence of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, no woman feels compelled to terminate her pregnancy!’.
If you need to know more about the legal requirements for an abortion it is better to contact lawyers in South Africa.
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