Your Rights and the LawThere is a conflict in the South African Bill of Rights between the rights of women to reproductive health care and to make decisions about their reproductive capacity, and freedom of conscience on the part of the medical profession. The following interpretation of the law expresses the views of senior legal counsel to Doctors for Life International (DFL): RELEVANT CONSTITUTION CLAUSES: Section 15: “Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion”. Section 16[b]: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression which includes freedom to receive or impart information or ideas”. Section 9: “Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. No person may be unfairly discriminated against directly or indirectly on any one or more grounds including amongst other things religion, conscience and belief”. YOUR RIGHTS The Constitution is the ultimate law of the country and entitles you to the following:
- To resist in Court any attempt to refuse employment or to discriminate against you or to intimidate you into participating in induced abortion.
- You have the right to refuse to refer a patient to an abortionist (the clause in the draft abortion law that forced a doctor or nurse, who was unwilling to do an abortion, to refer the patient to another doctor/nurse who would be willing, was scrapped before the bill was voted upon in 1997).
- To inform others of your ideas and views about induced abortion.
- You may not be forced to participate in any part of the abortion procedure; this would include anything from directly taking part in the abortion procedure, to making beds and caring for the patient or even looking at histological specimens in the laboratory.
- You may refuse to take part in any part of the administrative process of arranging abortions at all levels of the health system.
- You may not be refused work, dismissed or victimised in your work place because of your conscientious beliefs and objections concerning induced abortions.
- You may not express your ideas in a threatening or intimidating way, or physically prevent somebody from going for an induced abortion.
- If you do not wish to participate in induced abortion in terms of your lawful rights, you should make your viewpoint known as soon as possible to your employer in writing so that substitute staff can be arranged. (Contact DFL for the relevant form and advice.)
- You have the right to insist that, in a particular Institution, all the conditions stipulated in the Act be adhered to before induced abortion may be performed.(Abortions can only be carried out in an authorised facility).
- There must be access to medical and nursing staff that can perform the procedure. A Health Professional with conscientious objection cannot be counted as an accessible staff member.
- Where the woman is a minor, she must be advised to consult with her parents or her family.
- If you work in a casualty department, and a patient comes in haemorrhaging from Misoprostol/Mifepristone your duty is to stabilize the patient after which you can refer the patient to a health professional who has no conscientious objection to continue to attend to the immediate needs of the patient. Should these “emergencies” become a regular occurrence/part of your routine, you have the right to demand that arrangements be made for pro-abortion staff to be available to receive and stabilize these patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Public Opinions on Abortion – A Mind shiftMexico State Votes to Ban Abortions and “Protect Life from Conception” The Mexican state of Veracruz approved a constitutional amendment that effectively bans abortions by recognizing that unborn babies deserve protection. There is wide opposition to abortion in Mexico. Last year, more than 120,000 people signed a petition asking the nation’s Supreme Court to reaffirm that “abortion is not a right.” http://www.lifenews.com/2016/07/29/mexican-state-votes-to-ban-abortions-and-protect-life-from-conception/ Ireland’s High Court Rules an Unborn Baby Has a Right to Life High Court judge, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, has ruled that the word ‘unborn’ in the Irish Constitution means an “unborn child” with rights beyond the right to life which “must be taken seriously” by the State. This is an important ruling which provides useful clarity at a time when the media and abortion campaigners are arguing that preborn children should be denied even the most fundamental right – the right to life. Mr Justice Humphreys has ruled that preborn children not only have a right to life, but that the State is obliged to ensure that all the rights accruing to every child are upheld for children before birth. http://www.lifenews.com/2016/08/05/high-court-in-ireland-rules-an-unborn-baby-has-a-right-to-life/
Aids ConferenceDoctors for Life International would like to applaud the Deputy Minister of Justice on his address to the conference on Tuesday 18 July. In the Deputy Minister’s address, he stated that decriminalization of prostitution is not likely to happen in South Africa. He listed among other reasons; an increase in sex trafficking victims, increase in the number of women drawn into prostitution and increase in foreign women coming to South Africa for sex work. It is well documented that in countries where prostitution has been decriminalized e.g. Germany and the Netherlands that sex trafficking has gone up, prostitution involving underage girls has increased and the rate of HIV infection has increased, despite condoms being made available. The violence, rape and abuse suffered by prostitutes didn’t go away; it just became an occupational hazard. Pimps became managers and human traffickers became recruitment agencies bringing in girls to be used as sex slaves. Doctors For Life believes that the Deptuty Minister of Justice has sent a clear message and indication on where the government stands regarding prostitution and believes this is a step in the right direction to abolishing prostitution completely.
Student Pro-life Movement[caption id="attachment_3261" align="aligncenter" width="605"] The Conference in Stanger on Woman’s Day[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3262" align="alignright" width="150"] Vaughan Warren Luck[/caption] For the past 2 months the Student Pro-life Movement has been going out and spreading the pro-life message and getting the youth motivated for the upcoming National March For Life SA which takes place in Umhlanga, Gateway, Durban on 2 October at 14:00pm. We encourage all youth that want to take a stand against abortion to attend the march so we can show the government that there are people in SA who are against the unnecessary killing of innocent unborn babies. SPLM was represented at a number of meetings held around Durban recently. This includes a Woman’s Day Conference in Stanger which saw over 1300 ladies attend as well as a meeting in Verulam also in support Woman’s Month.
LifeChildSonosakhe Mmeli Dlamini After Sonosakhe lost both his parents he was left in the care of an uncle who showed little responsibility toward him. The uncle did not care much about what happened to Sonosakhe and he was treated very badly. When he came to one of Doctors for Life International’s orphan centers, he was very ill and undernourished and was taken to the clinic by the caregivers. He immediately started medical treatment. Sonosakhe’s health gradually improved due to the loving care of the caregivers at the orphanage. He was soon able to participate in all activities with the other children at the center. After a year he has developed into a happy well-adjusted young boy, accepted and loved by the other children and the caregivers. Philani Shezi [caption id="attachment_3265" align="alignright" width="197"] Philani Shezi[/caption] Philani was living with his grandmother when she passed away. He was left alone with nobody to take care of him. Some relatives took him into their home but then he left because they were not taking care of him. He was staying in different places with different people, and for a young child that can be very traumatising. In the end he was left with nowhere to call home. Philani was found sleeping under a wheelbarrow by people in the community and they contacted Doctors for Life International for help. When he arrived at one of DFL’s orphan centres, things were very difficult. He was very naughty, used to fight a lot and spoke disrespectfully to the caregivers. He also cried a lot. He was also very defensive and difficult. The caregivers spent time counselling him and after a while he began to change. Things are different now. He has adjusted very well and is much happier. He plays with other children from the centre and his behaviour has changed for the better. Thank you for the good work done at Doctors for Life’s Care centres by the staff.
Personal TestimoniesTina A. from Nhautse was expecting her first child. She came to the DFL Clinic at Zavora on the 10thof February with contractions. Everything seemed to go well with the labour. We checked the child’s heartbeat, contractions, dilatation, blood pressure, pulse of the mother and her temperature regularly. As the labour was progressing, we realised that something was wrong. The contractions were getting fewer and fewer. It was 03:00 in the morning when we again check the heartbeat of the child. It was only on 60bpm instead of at least 110bpm. We quickly prepared everything for a transferral to Inharrime (hospital) and Joy, our “Ambulance-driver“transferred the lady to the hospital. Finally we arrived at the hospital where she was taken care of and the baby was delivered. The next day we were told that this lady would have had a uterine rapture which means that the mother and child could have died. About 3 weeks after this the lady came for a check-up to our maternity ward. She came with her baby. I was so glad to see mother and child in such a good condition! – Staff from Zavora.
OneSunday morning an old man came to the house seeking help. During the night he was attacked by his son, who was drunk, with a machete, threatening to kill him. In defence he must have lifted his hands or grabbed for the knife, which resulted in a deep wound in his left hand, just below the thumb. After giving him a local anaesthetic we cleaned the wound to evaluate the extent of the damage. Both the tendon and the muscle were severed by the blade and the joint was visible. In order to fully restore the functionality of the thumb, which is extremely important for the hand, the tendon had to be reconnected. Due to a high risk of an infection occurring and also the difficulty of finding the pulled back tendon we thought it best to transfer the man to hospital as it has an operating theatre. The nurses on duty decided to just suture the skin and sent him home with a few Paracetamol tablets. Without having an operation he will not be able to use his left hand properly. But we took him with us for a Sunday service. He was touched by the message and also by the way he was treated at our clinic. He joined us for another Sunday service some time later and is interested in coming again. –Mirjam Rüttimann