File picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS
The ACDP was this week unlucky for a third time when its proposed bill on choice of termination of pregnancy was dismissed by the National Assembly.

The bill had sought to ensure women make an informed decision before deciding on abortion. At the centre of the bill was that women wishing to terminate a pregnancy undergo mandatory counselling and use ultrasound machines.

Virtually all parties rejected the bill, citing protection of women's rights to freedom of choice and reproductive health, as well as the financial burden if the legislation was passed.

The health portfolio committee recommended that the Assembly reject the bill, saying it was not desirable.

ACPD MP Cheryllyn Dudley said she was not surprised and that her party wouldn’t give up.

She described the first two attempts at the bill as a learning experience for her as a new MP. Dudley said her third attempt had shown that the pro-life group was willing to listen.

“There was no howling, no closing of the ears but rather honesty to hear my argument. It's just that it is not the right time,” she said in an interview with Independent Media.

Committee chairperson Lindelwa Dunjwa said Parliament had in 1996 decided women should have a choice on termination of pregnancy and that processes be put in place in healthcare institutions.

Evelyn Wilson, of the DA , said they supported all efforts to educate women and ensure that they have access to health care.

“We will continue to fight for upliftment of the healthcare system which is severely hampered by the shortage of staff and resources,” Wilson said.

Fish Mahlalela, of the ANC, said the mandatory counselling and ultrasound machines would have placed extra burden on an already financially burdened healthcare system.

Pretoria News