On the 9 July 2018, the Legal Resources Centre, Women’s Legal Centre, Sexual and Reproductive Rights Justice Coalition (SRJC) and Amnesty International hosted a roundtable discussion at the Abortion & Reproductive Justice: The Unfinished Revolution III Conference (ARJC). The round table was titled: “Demystifying abortion as a way to realise women’s rights” and aimed to initiate discussion on how the realisation of safe and legal abortions in South Africa is actually simple and highly possible.
The ARJC conference will run from the 08-12 July 2018 at Rhodes University, Grahamstown (Makhanda).
Since its inception in 1996, the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOPA) legally grants every woman the right to access safe and legal abortions (or termination of pregnancies) from both public and private health facilities. Unfortunately, most women are not able to fully make use of this right due to not having the right information on abortions. Lack of information ranges from when can you get an abortion, where you can get an abortion and what the law says is the responsibility of healthcare facilities and healthcare providers when it comes to abortions.
The Legal Resources Centre firmly believes in and advocates for women’s rights to choice and bodily autonomy. The roundtable encouraged debate, question and answers on how to improve woman’s access to safe abortions, with presentations from civil society organisations who’ve been involved in and advocated for women’s rights, rights to safe abortions and reproductive health for many years.
“The roundtable was successful in focusing on information about abortion that is not widely shared with women in South Africa. It spoke to the gaps in public knowledge about abortion which hinder women’s ability to exercise their bodily autonomy and self-determination, underpinned by the CTOPA. Our roundtable practically showed that the implementation of safe and legal abortions is simple and possible.” – Bongiwe Gumede, Equality and Non-discrimination researcher at the LRC.
The Panelists were: Bongiwe Gumede (Researcher at the LRC), Seehaam Samaai (Director of Women’s Legal Centre), Marion Stevens (Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition) and Louise Carmody (Amnesty International).