Hidden Treasure

For you formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother's womb. Psalms 139:13

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Embargo: Immediate Release

Date: 12 November 2009

Enquiries: Dr Eva Seobi

Tel: 082 575 6278


According to the latest Annual Report by the Western Cape Department of Health, the unwillingness of staff to perform abortions has resulted in unmanageable increases at facilities where staff are prepared to perform the procedure. Prior to the legalisation of abortion-on-demand, Doctors For Life International warned that this would happen. Health care professionals are fully aware that abortion ends the life a human being and many will therefore not participate in abortion-on-demand.

Health department head Prof Craig Househam said while the trend was worrying, it was also complex because the department could not compel staff to perform the procedure. All health care workers have a constitutional right to refuse to participate in the abortion procedure. According to him it’s even more worrying that younger staff are unwilling to perform abortions, as this could result in major problems when the older staff retired or left.

The provincial Department of Health has since raised concerns, saying that some institutions were increasingly becoming deserted due to staff refusing to perform abortions.

In a survey conducted by the South Africa Medical Journal in 1996, 82.49% of doctors said that they would refuse to perform abortion-on-demand. Of doctors in full-time government service, 94,69% said that they would refuse to perform the procedure. In another survey conducted in the Western Cape only 31.5% of doctors said that they would be prepared to do abortion-on-demand.

Sound medical science is clear that the life of a human being starts at fertilisation, when the reproductive cells of the male and female merge. The foetus’ heart begins to beat between 18 and 24 days after fertilization and brain waves can already be detected at six weeks after conception. Due to the development of the nervous system, a foetus is likely to feel pain as early as 8 weeks after conception. Doctors and nurses are acutely aware of these facts and will consequently always feel that it is morally and ethically wrong to do an abortion-on-demand.

Doctors For Life International therefore calls on the government to review the law on abortion, taking cognisance of the reality that the life of a human being starts at fertilization. No amount of political manoeuvring or efforts of governments will change these scientific facts.

Doctors for Life International, represents more than 1600 medical doctors and specialists. For more information visit Doctors For Life


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