Saturday, September 22, 2007

MEC’s to approve termination of pregnancy facilities

By Celeste Ganga
22 September 2007

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has approved a Bill that will grant Health MEC’s the authority to approve institutions that can carry out the termination of pregnancies in the province.

“On 20 September 2007 all nine provinces in the NCOP voted in favour of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill that will empower MEC’s in the provinces to approve health institutions that can terminate pregnancies,” says Head of Public Affairs, Luzuko Jacobs.

The new Bill will also allow facilities (public and private) that have a 24-hour maternity service to terminate pregnancies of up to 12 weeks without approval from the MEC.

“It also makes it an offence for any person to terminate or allow termination of pregnancy in a facility which has not been approved. Only registered midwives and nurses, who have undergone prescribed training, will be allowed to perform termination of pregnancies,” says Jacobs.

The Bill was initially passed by Houses of Parliament, NCOP and National Assembly in 2004, but the Constitutional Court struck it down last year following an application by Doctors for Life International.
“Parliament re-introduced the Bill in the NCOP as the first House. The NCOP on 20 September 2007 passed the Bill, with all 9 provinces voting in favour of its adoption,” says Jacobs.

The Bill has now been referred to the National Assembly for concurrence.

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