Parliament has rejected the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Cheryllyn Dudley’s private members bill on abortion, which critics have seen as a thinly veiled attempt to roll back women’s hard-won rights to safely terminate unwanted pregnancies. Until the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act came into effect in 1997, abortions were only available in SA under extremely limited conditions. They required the approval of two doctors who were not involved in the matter, and in some cases a magistrate or psychiatrist as well. The act permits abortions within the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, and at a later stage under certain conditions. Dudley has tried to restrict women’s access to abortion before by proposing an amendment to the constitution to include the right to life of the unborn child. Her Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament in December 2017 and proposed showing ultrasound images of their fetuses to all women seeking abortions, a...

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