South Africa Changes Abortion Law (1996)
When the government of South Africa introduced its new Choice of
Termination of Pregnancy Act in 1996, Dr. Harvey Ward, an obstetrician in
Cape Town, warned legislators that the Act had been drafted without regard
to the ability of existing medical facilities and personnel to cope with its
demands. In addition to logistical problems associated with resources and
training, he drew attention to the fact that a significant number of health
care personnel would likely object to participation in abortion for reasons
"The Government would do well," he wrote, " to ensure that there are
satisfactory answers before plunging the medical profession into a serious
crisis by prematurely enacting this bill."
Dr. Ward's letters are reproduced here:
Subsequently, Dr. Ward surveyed state doctors in the Western Cape to
determine if they were willing to implement the new law. Much of the
survey is now available on the Project site.