Submission to Parliamentary Committee on Abortion (1995)

 Abortion in South Africa

submitted to the parliamentary committee on abortion

May 1995

by Students for Life

For comments or questions on this document, contact:

Philip Rosenthal

Email: philip@rosenthal.net

 ABORTION IN SOUTH AFRICA

(Submitted to the parliamentary committee on abortion, May 1995)

Table of contents

1      Introduction.. 1

1.1       Background. 1

1.2       Issues examined in this document. 1

1.3       Purpose of document. 2

2      When does life begin?. 3

2.1       Unscientific ideas. 3

2.2       When does life really begin?. 4

2.3       Do abortionists really believe that the children they kill are not alive?. 4

2.4       ‘Personhood’ 5

2.5       The idea that the unborn child is part of the mothers body. 5

2.6       The argument that the child is only partially human if it is only partially developed. 6

3      The medical fact of human life before birth.. 7

4      The effects of abortion.. 11

4.1       Physical effects on the mother and child. 11

4.2       Psychological effects of abortion on the mother. 15

4.3       Effect on fathers and siblings. 16

5      The teaching of the Bible.. 17

6      Answering arguments used by pro-abortionists. 19

6.1       Illegal abortions. 19

6.2       Women’s rights. 24

6.3       Unwanted children. 25

6.4       Aids. 30

6.5       Population Growth. 31

7      ‘Hard cases’ and the 1975 Abortion & Sterilization Act.. 34

7.1       Introduction. 34

7.2       Background: legal history of abortion in South Africa.. 34

7.3       The life and physical health of the mother. 35

7.4       Serious risk that the child could be born with a physical or mental deformity. 36

7.5       Serious threat to the mental health of the mother. 37

7.6       Rape and Incest. 38

8      Conclusions. 41

Appendices. 43

Open letter from Dr Bernard Nathanson. 43

Letter on birth deformity. 45

The Hippocratic Oath. 46


1         Introduction

1.1        Background

Students for Life is a society of university students dedicated to speaking up for the unborn children of South Africa.  It has the support of many other campus organisations at the University of Cape Town, where it was started in 1992.  The society also has supporters on a number of other campuses, who assist by distributing literature.  In the past few years, the society has devoted its efforts to educating university students, members of the public and political leaders on the abortion issue.

1.2        Issues examined in this document

a)                 The medical fact of life before birth

We believe that life begins at conception and that a unique individual, distinct from the mother, with its own genetic code is formed at this time.  This belief is supported by scientific evidence and can be verified from any medical text on embryology.  It is also a medical fact that all abortions are performed on children who have beating hearts and active brainwaves.  The cessation of heartbeat and brainwaves is medically recognised as evidence of death.  If this is so, then clearly the reverse must also be true.  A person with active brainwaves and a beating heart, is definitely alive.  We therefore see abortion as murder, as it is the premeditated taking of an innocent life (See sections 2, p3 and 3, p7).

b)                 Moral responsibility

We believe that human beings are created in the image of God.  For this reason human life is sacred and no person has the right to decide to take the life of another innocent person.  The Bible condemns the shedding of innocent blood and promises God’s judgement on people or nations which do so.  Many also scriptures show that God values the life of the unborn child and sees them as people just like ourselves.  If we as a nation allow abortion on demand, we will not only be sanctioning murder, but will also bring the wrath and judgement of God upon our nation (See section 5, p17).

c)                  Socio-economic analysis

We believe that abortion is not a solution to any of the economic, social and political problems within our country.

i) Firstly, an abortion has serious consequences for the mother, child and father.  These factors need to be closely examined and considered in any decision regarding abortion:

• The child suffers a violent and painful death.

• The physical and mental health of the mother is at risk.

• Abortion also affects fathers and siblings (See section 4, p11).

ii) Secondly, we cannot attack the symptoms and hope that the cause will disappear.  Rather, the root causes of our various socio-economic problems need to be addressed.  For each circumstance in which abortion is considered, a suitable alternative needs to be found in order to assist the mother and child.  State health spending should not go to fund abortions, but rather be used for healing and welfare purposes.  There is also an important role to be played by churches and non-government welfare organisations.

iii) Thirdly, even if it was proved that abortion was able to solve some of the socio-economic problems of this generation, it would still not be morally justifiable.  Decisions on this issue should be made on principle and not on cold socio-economic cost/benefit analysis (See Section 6, p19).

d)                 The current South African Law

We believe that the present Abortion and Sterilization Act of 1975 is unacceptable and needs to be made much stricter i.e.  a return to the common law situation which existed prior to 1975, where abortion was available only in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.  Detailed reasons for objections to the current law are given later point in this document (See section 7, p34).

e)                 The debate: being a Voice for the Voiceless

Finally, we realise that the abortion issue is important and one which will be widely and freely debated in the future in this country.  Unfortunately, much confusion has resulted from false information supplied to the media by the pro-abortion movement (See section 6.1, p19).  Amongst many involved in the debate, there is also a very serious lack of factual knowledge especially about life before birth.

The most directly affected group of South Africans will not be able to voice their opinions on this issue.  We believe that we have a moral and responsibility to speak up on behalf of the multitudes of unborn children who are not at present able to speak for themselves.  As a voice of the voiceless, we would like to ensure that the rights and needs of these people are not ignored.

Abortion may appear to be a solution to some of our country’s problems.  This is a misinformed belief, as can be seen from the experience of other nations referred to elsewhere in this document.  Some have been trying to frame abortion as a “woman’s issue”.  Abortion affects not only women, but everyone in society.  It is not only a moral issue, it is a life and death issue.  It concerns the life of an unborn child and this most important fact in the abortion debate cannot simply be ignored.  We can never allow short-term convenience for those who would like to have abortions to override the right to life of the unborn child.

1.3        Purpose of document

The primary objective of Student for Life is to ensure that the fundamental right to life is protected in the new Bill of Rights from conception.  We believe that it is the responsibility and right of the new South African government to ensure that the fundamental human right to life should be upheld in our nation.  This right extends to all people including those in the womb.  If the government supports and advocates abortion, then it fails in its responsibility to ensure justice, as it is denying a sector of the population – the unborn children the basic right to life.  In fact, South Africa will be trading one form of discrimination, namely racism, for another, which is discrimination against the unborn.  This will be no better than the previous discriminatory policies of the government of South Africa.


2         When does life begin?

Pro-abortionists avoid this issue, because they know that they can never succeed if the public is informed about the facts about life before birth.  Scientifically and medically, this question is answered conclusively and unanimously.  Let us examine the various alternative ideas (Refer to section 3, p7 for the facts of life before birth).

2.1        Unscientific ideas

a)                 Birth

Some people argue that life begins at birth.  Any woman, who has had a child, has felt it kicking in the womb and knows that this is not true.  This is nevertheless the position of the South African ‘Abortion and Sterilization Act of 1975’, which sets no limit on when abortions may be performed, although late abortions are, in practice, more difficult to obtain.  The idea is really based on an unscientific notion that children that cannot be seen (without the help of medical technology) are not alive.  ‘I think the issue is we have to start defining when life begins and ends…we must be able to be concerned with the life which is born and not one which we have not seen…I think that is what we must do: save real life which we can see with our eyes’.[1]  In reality, a ‘born child’ is no different to an unborn child, except for its place of residence.

In many countries, such as America, abortions are regularly performed in the late stages of pregnancy.  In the same hospital, one may find an unborn child being aborted, which is in fact older than a prematurely born child being given special medical assistance.  A major dilemma faced by abortionists is that children are often born alive after attempted abortion.  The abortionist then has to decide whether or not the child then has the right to life.  Some kill the children, while others make every effort to save their lives – most simply leave them to die by neglect.

b)                 ‘Quickening’

A popular idea a few hundred years ago was that life begins at a certain moment when the mother is able to feel the child kicking in the womb (20 weeks).  The child was thought to have come alive at this moment.  In reality, the child has been kicking and swimming about in the womb from a much earlier age (6 weeks)- (See section 3, p7).  All that has happened, is that the child has grown big and strong enough for the mother to feel the kicking.  Today, an expectant mother can watch her child moving about in the womb on an ultrasound scanner.  The idea of quickening is unscientific, but nevertheless it still forms the basis of many otherwise educated people’s belief on the abortion issue.[2]

c)                  Viability

The question of viability is an important one in that certain pro-abortionists have in the past argued that the unborn child could only be considered alive and human after viability.  Viability is the potential ability of a baby to live outside the womb.  This idea is also based on the unscientific, but popular idea that a child becomes human when it is first seen.  According to this logic, since prematurely born children can be seen and are therefore alive, other unborn children of the same age must also be alive.   Some countries have based their abortion laws on the concept of viability, thus allowing abortion up to a certain number of weeks after conception.

One problem with the concept of viability is that nobody can agree when it begins.  As a result of the advances of medical science over the past few decades, doctors have been able to preserve the lives of younger and younger prematurely born children.  In the 1960’s, a baby could survive outside the womb after 32 weeks.  In the 1970’s, it was considered to be 24-28 weeks.  Today, viability has been reduced to 19-23 weeks.[3]  At present, the main limitation to viability is the development of the child’s lungs and thus the child’s ability to breathe.  If medical science continues to progress in this area, viability may be reduced to 12-15 weeks, possibly even earlier.  In the future, it may be possible to maintain new human beings in a totally artificial environment outside the womb right from the time of conception thus removing the issue of viability completely.[4]

It is therefore clear that viability cannot be used as a measure of the humanity of the unborn child because it is constantly changing.  Thus, no clear line can be drawn by viability in deciding when life begins.  Rather it is a measure of the sophistication of external life support systems, scientific knowledge and the ability of doctors and nurses.

2.2        When does life really begin?

Dr Bernard Nathanson, former director of the world’s largest abortion clinic and personally responsible for 75 000 abortions said: ‘I am often asked what made me change my mind.  How did I change from prominent abortionist to pro-life advocate?  In 1973 I became director of obstetrics of a large hospital in New York city and had to set up a perinatal research unit, just at the start a great new technology which we now use every day to study the fetus in the womb.  A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that the definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one.  Fetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any one of us enjoy…  As a scientist I know, not believe, know that human life begins at conception.’ [5]

Examine for yourself the evidence in section three, p7, which shows clearly the evidence of human life whilst the unborn child is still in the womb.  This information on the development of the child can be verified from any medical text on embryology.[6]

2.3        Do abortionists really believe that the children they kill are not alive?

Abortionists rely on the ignorance of the general public about the facts of life before birth.  They know that the unborn child is alive, but denying this or withholding the facts from those considering abortion is a useful way of dealing with women who have sensitive consciences.  Abortionists believe that because the unborn child is unseen, weak and defenceless, it has less right to life than those individuals who are able to defend and speak for themselves.  Abortionists tend to use deceptive language to avoid admitting that killing is taking place.  Aborted children, even in later months are referred to in non-human terms such as ‘P.O.C.’ (Products of Conception), ‘conceptus’ or ‘abortus’.  They tend to avoid use of the term ‘abortion’ and prefer ‘T.O.P’ (Termination of Pregnancy) or just ‘termination’.  In reality, they are just denying what is obviously true.

2.4        ‘Personhood’

Recognising that they have lost the medical argument of ‘when life begins’, many abortionists have invented a new philosophical problem.  They argue that although the child is alive, it is not yet a person, thus diverting the debate into unscientific speculation amongst themselves of what, in their eyes, constitutes a ‘person’.   Even if this view were accepted, we would surely be under an obligation to give the unborn child the benefit of the doubt in order to avoid possible murder.  One cannot really argue against this idea, since it has no logical scientific basis to attack.

All that can be done is to draw into focus the results of the idea that certain members of the human race are less human than others.  If unborn children can be declared inhuman by abortionists, then why not other people? In fact, this has happened frequently in human history.  Extreme racism perpetrated by many in our own country is to a certain extent a product of this philosophy, although it did not result in quite as evil actions as abortion and the denial of the right to life, which has occurred in other countries.

The American Supreme Court used this argument to uphold Slavery, by arguing that black people were non-persons (1857)

The Nazis used this argument to justify the killing of the Jews by arguing that they were ‘sub-human’ (1940)

The American Supreme Court used this argument to legalise abortion by arguing that the unborn are non-persons (1973)[7]

The most serious danger of this argument is that it could be used to question the ‘personhood’ of anyone, including you, the reader!

2.5        The idea that the unborn child is part of the mothers body.

This unscientific idea is vigorously promoted by pro-abortionists and forms the basis of many of their slogans (See section 6.2, p24 on Women’s Rights).  Medical evidence shows clearly that the unborn child is not at any stage of its development part of the mother’s body.  The child, from fertilization onwards, has a separate body and its own genetic code.  The mother and child do not even share the same blood and often have different blood types![8] The placenta prevents any mixing of blood, but allows nutrition and oxygen to pass through it.  If the child’s blood were a different type to that of the mother, then any of her blood entering the child would kill it.  The idea that the child is at some stage part of the mother is simply abortionist propaganda.

The related argument that the child is dependent on the mother for support.

True, the child is dependent on the mother for support until viability, but since when is our right to life determined by our dependence on other people? As infants, we were also dependent on our parents for our safety and nutrition.  Did this give them the right to kill us? Of course not! Likewise, there are many others in our society who are dependent on other people – for example, the aged, institutionalised, hospital patients etc.  This is a very weak argument, but brings out the dangerous logic behind the abortionist movement.  If killing is justified simply because people are dependent on others and unwanted by society, then who knows who else will be considered unfit to live in future.

2.6        The argument that the child is only partially human if it is only partially developed.

The major weakness in this argument is that development does not stop at birth.  The child does not have fully developed sex organs until after puberty.  As far as size is concerned, all organs are in place by eight weeks (See section 3, p7), but do not reach full size until the child reaches his or her late teens.

The argument that abortion is justifiable since many unborn children die naturally due to miscarriage.

It must be pointed out that miscarriage is natural death, while abortion is the deliberate taking of a life.  We will all die naturally at some stage, but this does not justify murder.  In some areas of the world, there is very high infant mortality.  Does this give people the right to deliberately kill these children? No! Natural death is very different to deliberate killing, which is murder.


3         The medical fact of human life before birth

Here are some of the earliest events that took place in your life.  Unless otherwise indicated, information on physical development taken from ‘The Developing Human’[9] and information on activity of child in womb taken from ‘The first nine months of life’[10] and ‘What the fetus feels’[11].  Please compare this chart with the following section 4.1, p11 on methods of abortion to see which methods are used for the different ages of the unborn child (Medical terms are in italics).

Week 1

•           Fertilization and implantation in lining of womb

Week 2

•           Placenta begins to form

•           Major organs forming

Week 3

•           Beginnings of heart (endocardial heart tubes)

•           Beginnings of brain (neural tube)

•           Blood circulating by end of week (blood supplied from yolk sac – not the mother!)

Week 4

           Heart beating and circulating blood!

•           Beginnings of the limbs become recognisable (upper and lower limb buds)

•           Beginnings of internal ears visible (otic pits)

•           Beginnings of the eyes visible (lens placodes)

Week 5

•           Rapid development of the brain and consequent growth of head

•           Beginnings of hands (hand plates) and feet (foot plates)

•           Mouth and nostrils (nasal pit) visible

Week 6

•           Baby able to move in response to stimuli – swimming in womb (not at ‘quickening’-20 weeks as once thought).

•           Brain waves can be recorded- evidence that the child is thinking

•           Elbow and wrist identifiable

•           Beginnings of fingers visible (digital rays)

•           Beginning of external ears

•           Eye colour begins to appear

•           Upper lips forms

Week 7

           Baby is very sensitive and can feel itself being touched even by a fine hair! Dispels the myth that unborn children do not feel pain in an abortion.

•           Child begins spontaneous movements

•           Eyelids beginning

•           Tip of nose distinct

•           Internal organs developing

•           Fingers start to separate

Week 8

•           Toes start to separate

•           Sex organs visible

•           Tiny body complete and looks similar to a fully developed baby, except for its small size and larger than normal head.[12]

Week 9

           Child will curl its fingers around an object placed in the palm of its hand.

•           Arms and legs moving

•           Eyes closing

•           Hardening of some bones begin (primary ossification) – this only finishes at about 19 years – not at birth.

•           Urine starts to form

•           Fingerprints starting to appear[13].

•           Front of body and limbs highly sensitive to touch

Week 10

•           Child swallowing fluid in womb (amniotic fluid)

•           Early fingernail development

•           Sex distinguishable from genital organs

•           Face has a fully human appearance

Week 11

•           Child can produce complex facial expressions and even smile

Week 12

•           Stroking the lips of the child will cause it to suck

•           Child’s mouth will open if touched by the thumb

•           Baby is extremely active: kicking legs, turning feet, curling and fanning toes, moving thumb and wrist and opening mouth.  The child is able to squint, frown, make a fist and swallow.

•           Child begins to grow very rapidly

Week 14

•           Bones harden – can be seen on x-rays of the mother’s abdomen

           Child can hear clearly what is happening outside the womb, as well as the sounds of the mother’s heartbeat and eating and drinking (Hearing is clear, not muffled)[14].  After birth, tape recordings of an adult heartbeat have a calming effect on infants.  A newborn baby is also able to recognise the familiar voices of its mother and father.  The child in the womb will respond to sudden noises such as a door slamming and will move more in response to high frequency sounds.

•           Early toe-nail development

Week 16

•           External ears stand out from head

•           Hair pattern determined

•           Baby is strong enough to grip onto an object placed in its hand and to maintain the grip if the object is moved away.

Week 18

•           Womb of female unborn children formed

Week 20

           Mother starts to feel the baby kicking in her womb -‘quickening’

•           Strong movements are ‘kicks’ and lighter repeated ones are ‘hiccups’.

•           The child sleeps and wakes up usually at the same time as the mother.

•           Special hair on head and body (lanugo) visible

Week 22

•           Skin wrinkled and red

•           Substantial weight gain

Week 24

•           Fingernails present

Week 26

•           Eyes partially open

•           Eyelashes present

•           Lungs developed

Week 28

•           Eyes open

•           Good head of hair often present

•           Skin slightly wrinkled

Week 30

•           Toe-nails present

•           Testes descending

Week 32

•           Fingernails reach fingertips

•           Skin pink and smooth

Week 36

•           Body usually plump

•           Baby has a firm grasp

•           Abortion is still legal virtually on demand in many countries such as the USA at this late stage – at any time before natural birth.

Week 38

•           Birth

  Most of the child’s development takes place in the first eight weeks.  After that, there are few changes other than growth.

•  The child is aware of the emotional state of the mother and moves more when she is under stress- up to ten times the normal rate.  Its heart rate will rapidly increase if a foreign object such as a needle enters the womb.

•  If air is injected into the womb during the later stages of pregnancy, the mother will be able to hear the baby crying.[15]

•  The child is affected by nicotine or alcohol if the mother takes this while pregnant.

•  Information on the activity of children in the womb is obtained from ultrasound, foetoscopy and observations on early miscarriages.  Cruel experiments by scientists on miscarried and aborted children have also expanded this knowledge.

THE UNBORN CHILD IS VERY MUCH ALIVE!

Let us not forget that this is the same child for which the next section explains the methods of abortion.  The child feels pain just as you would.  Please refer back to this chart to understand when each method of abortion is done.


4         The effects of abortion

4.1        Physical effects on the mother and child

Most arguments for legal abortion presuppose it to be beneficial to the mother and humane to the child.  This is not true.  Abortion unnaturally interrupts a pregnancy, destroying both the physical and emotional bond between mother and child.  This often results in harmful physical and mental complications to the mother.  The serious dangers of abortion are often obscured amongst media talk of ‘safe and legal abortion’, implying that legal abortions are safe.  All abortions, whether legal or illegal, are dangerous, as this section seeks to explain.

It is proven that the child suffers a violent and painful death.[16]  The ultrasound film, “The Silent Scream”, shows the evidence of this violence, as an 11-week old girl thrashes about to resist a suction device.  The doctor who had performed the abortion couldn’t bear to watch the film to the end and thereafter could not bring himself to perform another abortion – he had performed many thousands before (See also child abuse, p27 in section 6.3).  Women who have abortions are often not informed of the possible effects on themselves or given information about the unborn child.  Many would not choose to have abortions if this information was available to them.  The methods used to abort a child vary according to its size and age.

a)                 Methods of Abortion.

i.                         Menstrual Regulation

This is a euphemistic term for an early surgical abortion in which the child is sucked out using a plastic tube and a hand syringe.  It is performed when the child is four or five weeks old (see section 3, p7).  For the child, it is fatal in 99% of cases.

Physical effects on mother

Minimal dilation of the cervix is necessary and therefore it is probably the safest form of abortion for the mother, but still has serious dangers.  About four percent experience serious complications (which includes accidental cutting of the uterus or cervix; loss of blood; shock; fever requiring antibiotics; pelvic infection and remnants of the child left behind in the womb).  It can also cause infertility.  Since pregnancy tests are not reliable at this stage they are often not done.  As many as one third of the women undergoing this procedure are not pregnant, thus the surgery is unnecessary.  It was also found that these very early abortions cause more pain to the woman than those done at seven to nine weeks.[17]

ii.                       Suction Abortion

Before the age of 12 weeks, ie.  in the first trimester, the most common method used to abort an infant is by the suction method.  The mouth of the womb (cervix) is opened by means of a process called ‘dilatation’.  A suction curette (hollow tube with a cutting edge) is then inserted into the womb.  This powerful suction tube is about 24 times stronger than the force of a domestic vacuum cleaner and it literally tears or wrenches the child apart.  It then clears the womb of the contents.  If the head of the infant is too large for extraction, the abortionist inserts forceps into the womb and crushes the head before it can be removed.

Physical effects on mother

This procedure is by no means safe.  The cervix can be damaged by forcible dilation and the cervix does not return to normal size, increasing the probability of future miscarriage and premature births.[18]  It is also possible to damage the uterus through perforation (this could occur as the unripe placenta is torn away from the uterine wall) leading to serious bleeding.

iii.                     Dilation and Curettage Abortion (D&C)

D&C abortions are performed between 7 and 12 weeks of pregnancy.   A loop shaped knife (curette) is inserted into the womb, once it has been dilated.  This curette is used to dismember the child.  The body parts are then scraped out of the womb.  The head, being the largest part of the body must sometimes be crushed before it can be extracted.  A curette is often used after other abortion methods, in order to remove the placenta.

Physical effects on mother

With this method of abortion, bleeding can be profuse and if anything is left in the womb, it will cause infection.  It is thus the job of the operating room nurse to reassemble the body parts of the infant, to make sure that the womb is empty.  Effects mentioned above for suction abortion also apply here.  There is a danger of damage to the cervix, womb and bowels.  Infections also sometimes result.  Pelvic infections increase the risk of future tubal pregnancy.

iv.                      The RU486 Pill

This pill, named after the French pharmaceutical company Roussell-Ulaf, causes abortion within twenty-four hours and has been called ‘the people pesticide’.  It is interesting that this company is mainly owned by Hoechst, the German pharmaceutical company previously called I.G.  Farben, which manufactured the poison used to kill Jews in the Nazi holocaust.  The drug must be taken very early in pregnancy or else it is not effective (killing-effectiveness for an eight week old child is only 35%).  Surviving children are likely to be born handicapped, so are usually surgically aborted.

Physical effects on mother

According to Roussell’s medical director, Dr Andre Ullman “RU486 should not be regarded as a ‘do it yourself’ substitute for vacuum aspiration because of the very heavy bleeding that can occur“.  Twenty percent of patients bleed for over 12 days.  A post-abortion survey of women showed that more women reported painful side effects from RU486 than for surgical abortions and only 60% of such abortions were successful.  There is a serious danger that if allowed into our country at all, this drug could hit the black market and result in enormous harm to women and their children.[19]

v.                        Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

D&E abortions are performed between 12 and 18 weeks of pregnancy (ie.  within the second trimester- see section 3, p7).  During this abortive procedure, the cervix is dilated.  As the infant is too big to undergo a suction abortion, a pair of forceps (resembling pliers) is inserted into the womb.  These forceps clamp onto the limbs and tear them from the child one by one.  The head is crushed and then all of the body parts are scraped from the womb by means of a curette.  This method has been used to kill infants up to the age of 6 months.  The film, “The Eclipse of Reason”[20], shows the destruction of a child of 24 weeks (fetal age) by this method.  It includes footage taken from inside the womb during such an abortion.

Physical effects on mother

Effects of dilation of the cervix are more severe than for early abortions, since the child is larger.  All these forms of abortion increase the risk of tubal pregnancy and may cause cervical incompetence.  Abortionists complain that this method is unpleasant for them to perform and therefore prefer to use other more dangerous methods.[21]

vi.                      Prostaglandin Abortion

Prostaglandin is a hormone which is injected or applied to the uterine muscle to induce premature and violent labour which usually kills the child.   This method sometimes results in a ‘live birth’ which is seen as a ‘complication’.  For this reason, prostaglandin is often combined with the saline method of abortion to ensure that the child dies while still in the womb (infanticide is still illegal in South Africa).

Physical effects on the mother

Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea occur frequently as well as hypothermia, shivering, cramps and lung constrictions.[22]  These abortions take an average of 19 hours and can be therefore traumatic for the mother.  Almost all experience vomiting and diarrhoea.[23]  ‘A retrospective study of 319 such mid-trimester terminations at a Johannesburg hospital revealed that 3 patients require hysterectomy [removal of the womb], 1 developed a large tear of the posterior cervix and 1 died suddenly during the procedure’.[24]

vii.                    Saline/Salt Poisoning Abortion

This method is usually used after 16 weeks and makes use of a highly corrosive salt solution (20% salt) injected into the womb.  Hypertonic urea is sometimes used instead.  This salt (or urea) solution replaces approximately 200ml of amniotic fluid in which the child lives.  The solution is swallowed by the child, who is slowly poisoned to death.  It causes profound disturbances of electrolytes and clotting mechanisms.  Bleeding occurs in the tissues and organs of the baby; brain haemorrhages occur and the child’s skin is chemically burned.  The child usually takes an hour or more to die, during which time she experiences the most excruciating pain.  A few children still survive such abortions, such as Gianna Jensen, who was aborted at six months.  She has minor brain damage and an abnormal walk, but is otherwise a normal teenager.  She is a singer and pro-life activist[25] and recently participated in an international conference of abortion holocaust survivors.


Physical effects on mother

This is a very dangerous form of abortion for the mother.  She is able to feel the child thrashing about in the womb, which may be extremely traumatic[26].  The mother will deliver the child 24 – 48 hours later and she may also experience some pain.  The emotional effect of the mother seeing her dead and chemically burnt baby can also be very severe.  She must be hospitalised for about four days.  About sixty percent of women experience some form of physical side effect or complication.  These include: fever (15%); vomiting (9%); diarrhoea (6%); more severe, major complications are experienced by 5%[27].  This method of abortion is shown in the film “A Matter of Choice”[28].  Most maternal deaths are caused by accidental injection of the solution into the mother instead of the womb.[29]

viii.                  Hysterotomy/ Caesarean Section Abortion

This method is really a Caesarean Section performed with the intention of killing the child.  It is performed after 24 weeks of pregnancy (ie.  the third trimester- see section 3, p7).  An incision is made through the abdomen into the womb and the baby is removed and usually left to die by neglect.  The baby is sometimes killed while inside the womb through strangulation in order to reduce legal complications (ie.  if a fetus is killed while inside the womb it is classified as abortion and this is legal, but if an infant is killed outside the womb, it is seen as murder and is therefore illegal).

Physical effects on mother

This is the most dangerous form of abortion and has the highest maternal death rate[30].  It often results in much bleeding and scaring of the womb, which affects the mother’s future ability to bear children.

ix.                      Dilation and Extraction (D&E)

This new method of abortion has recently been invented to harvest material for fetal experiments and transplants (Legalised in the United States on June 10, 1993).  The abortionist’s aim is to extract the wanted parts of the baby while it is still alive, since organs quickly deteriorate when deprived of oxygen.  ‘Over two days, the cervix is dilated.  Then an ultrasound device and forceps are used to reach in and grab the baby’s feet.  The little body is pulled downwards until just the head remains in the cervix.  Next the abortionist grasps the nape of the neck and cuts open the back of the skull with blunt scissors.  A device called a cannula is then inserted into the wound and the brain material is sucked out.  If kidneys or other organs are desired, they are removed while the child is still partially in the vagina…  these surgical procedures are performed on a live baby who has not specifically been anaesthetized‘.[31]  It is clearly in the abortionist’s interest to perform the procedure as late as possible in pregnancy in order to harvest more mature fetal tissue.  Abortion in the United States may be performed at any time – even a few hours before the expected birth of the child.  If such cruelty were inflicted on animals, people in our modern society would not tolerate it.  The barbaric nature of this method underlines the fact that once a nation has accepted legal abortion, there is no limit to the evil they can inflict on the innocent.  Furthermore, there has not yet been any documented case of a person cured as a result of fetal transplant, but this has not quenched the enthusiasm of those who promote it.

Effects on the mother

Since the D&E method is fairly new, not much has been written about this, but one would expect effects similar to those for other forms of late abortion.  What is most concerning however, is that fetal harvesting opens the door for women to be exploited as ‘fetus farmers’ to supply research and transplants.[32]  There are already reports of women proposing to conceive with the deliberate purpose of aborting to provide tissue for treating themselves or family members.[33] The whole issue of fetal research and transplantation is again, full of terrible moral and social implications, but will not be discussed in detail here.

4.2        Psychological effects of abortion on the mother

The feeling of guilt is almost universal and some patients experience a form of postabortal depression’[34].  People do not experience guilt and depression as a result of any other form of surgery, such as the removal of an appendix.  This would tend to suggest that people instinctively know that abortion is not just the removal of tissue.  In order to overcome this guilt, many abortionists overseas employ counsellors to persuade pregnant women in distress to have abortions.  In the USA, such counsellors are trained in professional marketing techniques to sell abortion to their customers.[35]

In England, the state employs post-abortion counsellors to help women to cope with this problem.  There are three categories of psychological reaction to abortion: The first very common reaction involves guilt, anxiety, depression, sense of loss, crying, deterioration of self-image, regret or remorse.  The second, more serious reaction affects about one in a thousand aborted women and results in metal illnesses.  The third, suicide, is rare, but considerably higher than for women who have not had abortions.[36]

In the United States, an organisation, ‘Women Exploited by Abortion’, was formed to assist other women recover from abortions and to fight for the reversal of the legalisation of abortion.  It had signed up 10 000 members within six months of founding.  A study conducted by the organisation on its own members reported the following physiological effects: ‘Guilt; suicidal impulses; sense of loss; unfulfillment; mourning; regret and remorse; withdrawal; loss of confidence in decision making capability; lower self esteem; preoccupation with death; hostility; self destructive behaviour; anger/rage; despair; helplessness; desire to remember death date; preoccupation with “would be” due date or birth month; intense interest in babies; thwarted maternal instincts; hatred for anyone connected with abortion; desire to end relationship with partner; loss of interest in sex; inability to forgive self; feeling of dehumanisation; nightmares; seizures/tremors; frustration; feelings of being exploited; child abuse; decreased work capacity; crying; insomnia; loss of appetite; weight loss; nervousness; frigidity’ [37]

In a detailed study of post-abortion psychological effects in the American Journal of Psychiatry, it was reported that ‘Anxiety, which if present after an abortion is felt very keenly, was reported by 43%…  Depression, one of the emotions likely to be felt with more than moderate strength, was reported by 31.9% of women surveyed…  18% felt no relief at or just a bit.  They were overwhelmed by negative feelings.  Even those women who were strongly supportive of the right to abort reacted with regret, anger, embarrassment, fear of disapproval and even shame.’[38]

Many if not the majority of women who have abortions are told that it will be a simple, safe operation to remove a ‘blob of tissue’.  The trauma experienced by such women if they see the human body of their aborted child can be very serious.

The psychological distress experienced by some aborted women is known as ‘Post Abortion Syndrome’ (PAS) and is often suppressed until it manifests many years after the abortion.  Solutions to this condition are as follows:

a) Admit she was party to the killing of her own child;

b) Mourn over the loss

c) Seek and accept God’s forgiveness

d) Forgive herself [39]

4.3        Effect on fathers and siblings

Many people are under the impression that abortion only affects the unborn child and its mother.  The result of this is that abortion is often perceived as being a woman’s issue only.  The information in this section was taken from the book cited below on abortion recovery counselling.[40]

a)                 Fathers of aborted children

Sociologist Professor Arthur Shostak, who is himself the father of an aborted child, has spent years studying the impact of abortion on men.  In a survey of 1000 men who had accompanied the mother of their child to an abortion clinic, he found that: 47% experienced emotional and mental problems; 39% were uncertain and 52% occasionally thought about the child on the anniversary of the abortion.  Some felt angry and frustrated, because they had not had any part in the decision making process, while others felt guilt over having caused the pregnancy and for the emotional and physical damage done to the woman.  He has concluded that for men, abortion causes an often-unrecognised trauma, as they tend to grieve in a hidden and denied fashion.

Their relationship with the mother of the child was also affected.  A study of 400 couples, who had gone through an abortion experience, showed that 70% of these relationships failed within a month of the abortion.

b)                 Brothers and sisters of aborted children

Many children who are siblings of an aborted child experience what is called the ‘survivor syndrome’.  They may feel guilty for having survived and consequently suffer depression.  This may manifest itself as irritability and lethargy, but is usually interpreted as rudeness and disrespect.  They may feel angry towards their parents and take it out on their younger siblings.  Others feel ‘haunted’ and distrust the future.  Some experience ‘over-protection’ by parents who have regretted their decision to abort the previous child.  Others feel they are simply ‘substitutes’, conceived to replace the aborted child, thus experiencing a lack of self-worth.

Abortion is therefore not just a woman’s issue, but one, which has a profound effect on all of society.  Men, women and children would be affected if abortion were to be legalised in South Africa.


5         The teaching of the Bible

Censuses show that the vast majority of South Africans claim to be Christians.  This indicates that they would like the state to make laws and decisions on the basis of Christian principles.  Many people, with different personal beliefs, are also in favour of these principles.

The Bible teaches that God created all people in his own image.  All human life is sacred:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.‘ Genesis 1:27

This teaching is also the fundamental basis of other Christian values in our society, for example, the equal dignity of people of different races and of men and women.

We are all valuable – not because other people value us, but because God does and we are created in His image.  God sees us as intrinsically valuable and therefore we should never see people as being only relatively valuable.  The Bible speaks about unborn children as being people, just like us, whom God is concerned about:  ‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers’ womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.‘  Psalm 139:13-16

‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart’ Jer 1:5

David recognised his humanity from the moment of conception: ‘Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me‘ Psalm 51:5

‘This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb …  ‘ Isaiah 44:24

John the Baptist was spiritually aware while he was still in the womb.  He responded to the presence of Jesus who was also still in his mothers womb.  ‘When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” Luke 1:41-44.

It is significant that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an unmarried mother.  In today’s society, she would probably have been under pressure to have an abortion.

Should a handicapped, unborn child be aborted?

Who gave a man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I the Lord?‘ Exodus 4:11

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.‘ Luke 14:13-14

No.  The Bible does not teach that disabled people have any less rights that ‘normal’ people – rather, it exhorts us to help them (See also section 7.4, p36).

Should an unborn child, conceived as a result of rape or incest, be killed?

Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.‘ Deuteronomy 24:16

No.  In this rare case, the father of the unborn child is the rapist.  It is he who deserves punishment – not the child, who is innocent.  God is sovereign and we see that He values the lives of handicapped children and those conceived due to rape.  We should likewise value, love and care for them (See also section 7.6, p38).

What does God say about the shedding of innocent blood?

Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by man will his blood be shed, for in the image of God has God made man‘.  Genesis 9:6

You shall not murder‘.  Exodus 20:13

Israel, like many countries in the world today, which were once based on Judeo-Christian values, abandoned God’s standards and practised child sacrifice.

They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood‘ Psalm 106:38

Unhampered “free choice” and materialism are some of the “idols” to which the pro-abortion lobby would like to sacrifice our children.

Can God forgive those who have had abortions?

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions …  and remembers your sins no more‘ Isaiah 43:25

All the prophets testify about him (Jesus) that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name‘ Acts 10:43

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness‘ 1 John 1:9

Yes.  God does forgive.

What does the Bible say we should do about this problem?

We should give HELP to pregnant women in need, as well as to single parents.  This could be financial support; spiritual and emotional support; counselling; opening homes those in need; or adopting or fostering unwanted children.  Unwanted children and mothers in need are in a similar position to orphans and widows:

Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress‘ James 1:27

We should EDUCATE society:

Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves‘ Prov 31:8

We should unite as a voice for the voiceless in our society.  Most people do not even know what an abortion is.  They need to be educated with the facts about life before birth and the value that God places on the life of the unborn child.


6         Answering arguments used by pro-abortionists

6.1        Illegal abortions

This issue is the main argument, which the pro-abortion lobby is using in its campaign to get abortion legalised on demand.  Before discussing the ethics of the issue, it is necessary to question some of the claims they are making.

a)                 How many illegal abortions are actually taking place in South Africa?

According to Dr Marj Dyer, national president of the Abortion Rights Action Group (ARAG), ‘up to 250 000 South African women resort to backstreet abortions yearly[41].  This figure, fed to the press by Dr Dyer, is the one which up to now has almost invariably been quoted in the newspapers.  Recently, a new inflated figure has been invented.  According to a pro-abortion pressure group calling itself the ‘National Progressive Health Care Network’, ‘Between three hundred and four hundred thousand South African women undergo painful, life threatening and illegal abortions each year.[42]

The figures may differ slightly in number, but both are similar in that they are in the hundreds of thousands.  Let us do some mathematical calculations with these statistics.  The total number of children born each year in South Africa is 766 500 and on average each woman gives birth to four and a half children.[43]  If the pro-abortionist figures are true, then there is one abortion for every two children born alive and the average South African woman has two abortions in her lifetime! Even if the true figure were ten percent of those quoted above, it would mean that roughly one in every five South African women has an abortion at some time in her life.  This is a ridiculous assertion.

Considering the sheer impossibility of such statistics, one wonders how educated, highly trained medical doctors could be making such statements.  Do they actually believe them or are they making these statements for some other reason?

Dr Bernard Nathanson, founder/leader of the National Association for the Repeal of the Abortion Laws (NARAL), who led the pro-abortion movement to victory in the United States has since changed his position and become pro-life.  Dr Nathanson explains the tactics used by the American pro-abortion lobby: ‘It is important to understand the tactics involved because these tactics have been used throughout the Western world with one permutation or another, in order to change the abortion law…  We aroused enough sympathy to sell our programme of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the US.  The actual figure was less than 100 000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1 000 000.  Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public.  The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually.  The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10 000.  These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.’[44]

Conclusion: The pro-abortion lobby is deliberately lying.  They are stating large figures to imply that the problem of illegal abortions is so big that it is unsolvable and that abortion must be socially acceptable since so many people are having them.  This is simply not true.

b)                 Moral issues

We can now discuss the moral issues involved in the much smaller problem of illegal abortions.  As always, the abortionist tactic is to divert attention from the death of the child to other problems, in this case, possible injury to the mother.  While examining these issues, we must not loose sight of the fact that every abortion results in the death of at least one human being.  In the rare instance that the abortionist also kills the mother, it is a double tragedy.

The main pro-abortion argument

Pro-abortionists allege that ‘Safe legal abortions will eliminate the problem of dangerous backstreet abortions‘.  Let us examine this statement in the light of available evidence.

If laws are broken, should they therefore be abolished?

We must question the logic that simply because people are breaking a law, there must be something wrong with the law.  A large number of rapes, murders, assaults, thefts, burglaries etc take place in South Africa every day.  Should we for this reason give up hope of enforcing the law? Should we legalise mugging in order to eliminate dangerous backstreet mugging? Many people are injured whilst committing such crimes.  Should the law therefore be changed to make these crimes legal? Never! Simply giving up because a problem becomes too big shows a lack of responsibility and a breakdown of civil order.

Would legalised abortion stop illegal abortions?

It has been found that where abortion has been legalised on demand there has been an initial decrease in criminal abortions, but that they have not been eliminated.  In some places they have actually increased, presumably because of greater public acceptance of abortion.  Dr Christopher Tietze, world authority on abortion statistics, said: ‘although one of the main goals of the liberalization of abortion laws in Scandinavia was to reduce the incidence of illegal abortion, this was not accomplished.  Rather, as we know from a variety of sources, both criminal and legal abortions increased.’[45]

Similar situations have been reported in England, America, East Germany and Hungary.[46]  In Russia, where abortion on demand is freely available, it was found that 67% of first pregnancies were ended by illegal abortion.  In rural area, the figure was higher.[47]

Unqualified abortionists who make a lucrative profit from their business would not simply stop if the laws were liberalised.  Illegal abortions can be done more quickly and with more secrecy[48] than those in hospitals.  This is often a major concern of the client.  Liberalised abortion laws also change the nation’s moral attitude toward abortion, thus more people seek them.  Where abortion is legal, illegal abortions are not considered as serious a crime; thus the illegal abortionist is in less danger of punishment.  In most cases however, South Africa included, illegal abortions are actually being done by qualified doctors, nurses and other medically trained people.  Legalisation of abortion simply allows the same people to do more abortions and make more money.

Conclusion: Legalised abortion does not eliminate ‘backstreet abortions’.

Would legalised abortion stop maternal deaths?

Legal abortions do not prevent maternal deaths.  Abortion is serious surgery and involves the removal of the unripe placenta from the lining of the womb.  This is clear from the seldom-publicised fact that women die as a result of legal abortions in South Africa as well as in other countries around the world.  In a thorough study, which covered 267 hospitals in South Africa and Namibia over the period 1980 to 1982, by Professor E.G.M Boes of the Medical University of Southern Africa, it was found that six women died from a total of 1192 legal abortions.  During the same three years only nineteen women died from illegal abortions.[49]

Although these deaths are a deep personal loss to the family and friends of those killed, we must question whether they are really what is motivating the abortionist lobby in South Africa.  Surely there are other causes of death, which have a much greater toll on human life? If these people were really concerned about the loss of life, would it not be better for them to devote their efforts to some more worthy and productive cause such as fighting tuberculosis which kills seven thousand South Africans annually?[50]

It is true that backstreet abortions are more dangerous than those done in a hospital are, but where abortion is legalised, the total number of abortions performed rises phenomenally.  ‘Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalising abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally.  In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as primary method of birth control in the US and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legislation.’[51] Thus the number of women injured or killed does not decrease and may even increase.

Comparisons with other countries, such as America, show that Professor Boes’ statistics are not unreasonable.   ‘One must go back to the pre-penicillin era to find a year during which more than 1000 women died from abortions in the US.   There was a precipitous drop in deaths in the late 1940’s, which was clearly due to improved medical care.   In 1966, the year before the first state legalised abortion, only 120 women died from abortions.   In 1972, the year before the Supreme Court legalised abortion in all states, only 39 women died.’[52]

Prior to the legalisation of abortion in 1973, the number of deaths from illegal abortions was apparently quite small- at most several hundred deaths a year [for a population many times bigger than South Africa].   But since the legalisation of abortion, many thousands of women have died and many millions of babies have been killed.’[53]

Conclusion: Legal abortions are not safe, women die from both legal and illegal abortions.   This cannot be the abortionist lobby’s real motive for demanding the legalisation of abortion on demand.   They are simply using this argument to gain public sympathy.

Are backstreet abortions as dangerous as is claimed by the pro-abortion lobby?

Pro-abortionists create the image of a ‘backstreet abortionist’ as being some sort of butcher.   This may be true, but it must be pointed out that in most cases, qualified people in the medical profession perform backstreet abortions.   The only difference between these and legal ones, is that legal ones take place in state hospitals and illegal ones take place in private homes and in doctor’s consulting rooms.   As examples, in the ‘South’ newspaper, 17 October 1991, it was reported that a doctor admitted on SATV to having performed numerous abortions.   In March 1992, Drs Anthony Isaacs and Philip Nourse of Johannesburg were re-arrested on allegations of carrying out abortions.   Rapport told a story in 1991 of illegal abortions easily available from a network of doctors in Johannesburg and Pretoria.[54]

According to Dr Lynn Denny, head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Groote Schuur hospital, illegal abortionists in Cape Town are fairly skilled and are not of the stereotype ‘butcher’ variety.   She also mentioned that there would not be sufficient medical doctors in South Africa who would be prepared to perform abortions to provide abortion on demand if the law was liberalised.   Sixty percent of Gynaecology and Obstetrics registrars will not perform abortions even for cases permitted under the current law.   Likewise, most pharmacists will not provide the necessary abortive drugs.   She suggested that the task of abortion should therefore be give to paramedics[55].   This is a ridiculous idea, since that would simply mean legal abortion would become as dangerous as illegal abortion.   The same illegal abortionists would just be allowed to perform more abortions and without fear of punishment.

Conclusion: All abortions are dangerous, illegal ones more so, but the ‘butcher’ style of abortionist is becoming a thing of the past as professionals are performing illegal abortions.

c)                  Real solutions to the problem of illegal abortions:

i.                         Tougher enforcement

There is a need for tougher enforcement of the abortion laws by the police.   According to the Central Statistical Service, only twenty abortionists were convicted in the period July 1992 to July 1993.[56]  If illegal abortions were taking place at even a fraction of the rate claimed by the abortionist movement, one would expect a much higher number of convictions.  Abortionists should be extremely easy to apprehend in comparison to other murderers.  A woman police officer need simply pose as someone seeking an abortion and telephone suspected abortionists.  It should be no more difficult to arrest an abortionist than to obtain an abortion.  There is clearly a discrepancy in the amount of effort being used to convict abortionists than other child-killers such as the famous ‘Station Strangler’ in Cape Town, on whom a numbers of detectives worked full time to apprehend.

ii.                       Human life education

Most members of the public have little knowledge about life before birth.  It would be a good idea for this to be included in the school curriculum, possibly in biology or lifeskills education.  It would surely be of relevance and interest to the average scholar.  Knowledge about the fact that the unborn child is alive and active from a very early age should prevent the vast majority of women from seeking abortions.  This education could also take place through the mass media, especially television and would be of interest to most people.

iii.                     Addressing social stigma

It seems that for many abortions, especially those resulting from teenage pregnancy, the cause is not economic, but rather social stigma.  Often headmasters are harsh with schoolgirls who become pregnant.  It is rather hypocritical, that a society, which encourages pre-marital sex and boldly advertises ‘safe sex’, also rejects both an unmarried mother and her child.  Those trying to punish the mother should recognise that the problem of an unwanted child is more than enough punishment for any teenager who falls pregnant.  Headmasters and parents need to be educated and encouraged to show compassion rather than to ostracise the child.  From this follows the need for compassionate welfare help.

iv.                      Welfare help

The main purpose of homes for unmarried mothers is to enable the mother to be away from home during late pregnancy to avoid social stigma (Such homes exist in many South African cities: for example ‘St Annes Home’, ‘Sisters Incorporated’ and ‘Nannie Huis’ in Cape Town).  ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ and organisations such as ‘Birthright’ also help in other ways by giving counselling to those with unwanted pregnancies and in the case of teenage pregnancies, the parents as well.  There is a need for more institutions to help in this area.  Adoption also needs to be promoted as a loving option rather than abortion.  Childcare centres can also do a lot to help single mothers.


6.2        Women’s rights

Although we believe that every woman should have the right to free choice, this right should never infringe upon, or take away, the right of another individual to life.  Susan Carpenter McMillan has stated: ‘As a feminist, I believe strongly in a woman’s right of choice.  But with abortion, we’re really talking about the rights of human beings versus the right of an individual to kill another human being.  We’re talking about someone’s right to life versus someone’s right to choose death for another person.  We’re talking about life versus a lifestyle.

a)                 Deceit through slogans

Pro-abortionists tend to evade logical debate.  Rather, they rely on repetition of slogans.  Let us look closely at the claim made by the often-repeated abortionist slogan ‘Every woman has a right to control her own body‘:

EVERY WOMAN: The word ‘woman’ means a ‘female human being’.  Since more than fifty percent of aborted children are ‘female human beings’, obviously not ‘every woman‘ has a right to control her own body.  If the claim ‘every woman‘ is to be valid, then it should include all female human beings – all women – even the ‘little women’ in the womb whose sex is determined at the moment of conception.  A factor also often ignored by the feminist lobby is the fact that in many countries and especially in the Third World, a major cause of abortion is sex selection.  Parents choose to abort female children because they want sons.[57]  This killing is surely more serious than any other form of gender discrimination.

HAS THE RIGHT

Rights, in general, except possibly the right to life, are not absolute.  No man or woman has an absolute right of control over his or her own body.  For instance, the laws of society do not allow us to inject our bodies with drugs or sell them in prostitution or to use our bodies to commit acts of criminal violence.  Because all life is interrelated, many individual rights are relative and not absolute.  In the case of abortion, the fact that the unborn child has the right to life is of paramount importance in evaluating the validity of other rights.

TO CONTROL: The word ‘control‘ means ‘to exercise authority over or to regulate and restrain.’ To be in control is to assume responsibility.  Abortion does not assume responsibility for oneself or for the child.  Thus abortion promoted as a means of being ‘in control‘ is often evidence of a body which has been ‘out of control’.  If one claims to want ‘control‘ then one must ‘curb or restrain’ the body before exposing it to the possibility of pregnancy or take responsibility for the results afterwards.  Deciding whether to engage in sexual intercourse is a reproductive choice.  The ability to make this choice is a woman’s reproductive right.

HER OWN BODY: Science and medicine show clearly that in a pregnancy there are two individuals each with a separate body.  Fetological study leaves us in no doubt that by every physical measurement, the intrauterine being is fully human.  These little human beings are able to cry, urinate, dream, hiccup, swallow and suck their thumbs.  They have their own heartbeat and bloodstream (often of a different blood type to the mother).  Brain waves can be detected and they can feel pain (including the pain inflicted by the abortionist).  Unborn children are able to hear and when born can recognise familiar voices such as that of the father.  They have their own genetic code, unique features and identity (See sections 3, p7 and 4.1, p11 for more on this subject).  The body of the unborn child would be rejected as foreign tissue from the womb were it not for the placenta.

A woman has a right over her own body, however the body of the unborn child is not her body, but that of another human being who also has a right to control its own body.  This right is the right to life.  Abortion is clearly the destruction of a separate human body.

b)                 Do South African women really want abortion?

Pro-abortionists always claim that they are acting in the interests of women and have their support.  This has been soundly repudiated by polls, which show that over 70% of South African women are opposed to permissive abortion.  This statistic was the same for supporters of both the National Party and the African National Congress.[58]  We believe that given proper education about the facts of abortion and life before birth, such as those given in this document, those supporting permissive abortion would shrink to an insignificant minority.

The abortionist lobby, trying to style themselves as “champions of women’s rights”, have often accused the predominantly male 1975 parliamentary commission (appointed at the time limited abortion was legalised in South Africa), of not taking into account the interests of women.[59]  The fact that this is a lie is demonstrated by the fact that amongst the many submissions given to the commission, no women’s organisation or any other reputable organisations requested permissive abortion laws.  The only group promoting abortion on demand was the Abortion Reform Action Group (ARAG), which at the time had only fifteen members![60] The leaders of ARAG at that time are the same people who are leading it today.  Despite anything the abortionist lobby would wish us to believe, the overwhelming majority of women were and still are opposed to permissive abortion laws.

c)                  Diverting attention away from the real issue

The outcome of a debate is often determined by the way it is framed.  The abortion on demand movement is trying very hard to divert attention from the basic issue of whether or not the unborn child deserves the right to life.  They do this by trivialising the debate and bringing in other peripheral issues such as women’s rights.  If they succeed in convincing the public that the abortion debate is one which centres around women’s rights rather than children’s rights, then they will have already won that debate.  The abortionist lobby, by doing this, also creates the impression that most women would like to have the opportunity to murder their children – a grave insult to the compassionate and loving women of our country.  We must reject completely the idea that abortion can in any way be looked at as an advancement of women’s rights.

6.3        Unwanted children

We must recognise that ‘wantedness’, is a term describing one person’s subjective feelings about another person.  Anyone, who uses this as a standard to judge the right to life, then implies that the value of human life is not inherent, but rather dependent on the wants or whims of other people.  Before rejecting unborn children on these grounds, we must pause to think of the implications of this standard of judgement for our society in general.  Is it ethically correct to dispose of those we consider to be a burden or inconvenience to society?

a)                 The implications of using ‘unwantedness’ as a factor in moral decisions

If the pro-life movement loses the battle on the abortion issue, what is to stop the next generation from applying the same arguments currently being used by the abortionist movement to eliminate other ‘unwanted’ people? This is indeed what happened in Nazi Germany, where 300 000 ‘pure blooded’ Germans were eliminated on grounds of unwantedness, even before Hilter’s program of racial mass murder began.[61]  A person’s rights should never be dependent on another person’s ‘wanting’ them.

If abortionists succeed in their current agenda, what is to stop the later elimination of other people regarded by some as ‘unwanted‘ members of our society? Following Nazi Germany’s standards, this could include the elderly and senile, street children, vagrants, the terminally ill and the mentally insane.  The category ‘unwanted‘ could in fact extend to anyone who does not have family and friends who care about them.  The mark of a caring society is that people take the trouble to reach out and help those whom others have rejected.

b)                 Do ‘unwanted pregnancies’ result in ‘unwanted children’?

This is a lie, which the pro-abortionists would like us to believe.   There is a great difference between the attitude a woman has to her ‘unwanted’ child during the early stages of pregnancy and after birth.  This is the reason that many that had at one time planned to abort choose to keep their children rather than give them up for adoption, even though that involves financial and other hardship.  A child from an unplanned pregnancy does not necessarily receive less love than one from a planned pregnancy.  ‘It is clear that mothers who initially believed their pregnancy to be “the worst thing that ever happened to them” came to feel the same degree of affection for their children as the mothers who were initially “ecstatic” about the pregnancy’[62]. A number of studies have shown that there is no correlation between ‘unwantedness’ during pregnancy and deviant behaviour afterwards.[63]  A child that was ‘wanted‘ when in the womb, could equally become ‘unwanted‘ by the parents at some later stage.

Pro-abortionists tend to place ‘unwanted children’ in a derogatory ‘class bracket’.  All the other people that are ‘unwanted’ by the relatively successful in society are included in this ‘class’.  A little thought on this subject could yield a different answer.  In the USA, where abortion is legal on demand, one third of all children conceived are aborted[64] and in some other countries the rate is much higher – imagine the situation that one third of the people you now know had been killed before birth.  Most likely to be included in this third would be, for example, those who had unmarried mothers; those who were born much later than other children in their family; those who came at an inconvenient time, before the parents academic studies had been completed.  Possibly you, the reader, were also unplanned and unwanted at the time when your mother fell pregnant, although she would be unlikely to tell you that.

A study of American women, who had abortions in 1987, showed that at least half had not been using any form of contraception during the period when they conceived.[65]  Abortion was therefore a substitute for contraception.

c)                  Street Children

Pro-abortionists argue that abortion on demand will solve the problem of street children.  This seems unlikely, says street worker Tony Goy of the ‘Ark City of Refuge Mission’, Cape Town.[66]   He estimates that of the few hundred street children they have cared for over the past two years, at least 80% left home as a result of alcohol related problems.  Drunkenness by fathers causes serious child abuse.  Alcoholic mothers tend to love their children less and therefore give them less attention, so children seek friendship elsewhere.  Alcohol abuse also destroyed parental relationships and caused constant quarrelling, which some children wanted to escape.  In some cases, parents spent all their money on alcohol, leaving none to buy food and thus the children left home as a result of hunger.  For a few of the children, unemployment in the family meant that they were sent onto the streets to beg.

According to Mr Goy, none of the children he spoke to had left home as a result there being too many children in the family, since it was always possible to stretch low cost meals, provided there was at least one wage earner in the family.  Unplanned pregnancies had not caused unwanted children, rather lack of love resulted from the parent’s abuse of alcohol or drugs which made them less interested in their children.

In order to solve the problem of street children, alcoholism amongst parents is the main root problem to be dealt with.  Unemployment is to a lesser degree a cause.  As far as welfare help for children is concerned, there are many charitable organisations already involved in assisting street children.  The Ark City of Refuge Mission (which currently operates in Durban and Cape Town), for example has an open door policy.  This means that they will not turn away any street child who arrives on their doorstep.  They also regularly send workers onto the streets to persuade children to come to the centre.

This problem of street children should not be seen as too large to remedy.  Mr Goy stressed that the total number of street children is actually much less than the figures often quoted in the newspapers.  Street children beg in visible places and so appear to the public to be in larger numbers than they actually are.

Clearly abortion is not in any way going to help solve this problem.  The logic of the abortionists is also rather poor, since they assume that the killing of a child by abortion is less evil than killing a child who is on the street.  If human life is sacred, then there is no moral difference.

d)                 Will abortion stop child abuse?

This is another lie that pro-abortionists would like us to believe.  Quite the opposite is true, as can be seen from the experience of countries where abortion is freely available.  The less respect society has for children in the womb, the less respect they will have for children who have already been born.  ‘According to U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services figures between 1973, when abortion was legalised and 1982, child abuse in America increased more than 500 percent’[67] In Canada, it was found that the provinces with the highest rates of legal abortion also have the highest rates of child abuse.[68]  The same would be likely to happen in South Africa if abortion was legalised.

Pro-abortionists claim that legal abortion will also reduce infanticide, which is an extreme form of child abuse.[69]  The opposite is true.  Abortion’s cheapening of human life and lack of compassion is easily extended to the newborn child.  Those who commit infanticide reason correctly that there is no real moral difference between killing a child inside or outside the womb.  The only difference is the more emotionally distressing evidence of the larger baby left behind (while smaller aborted children can be easily disposed of).  A particularly disturbing fact is that since the legalisation of abortion on demand up to birth in many countries, a number of pro-abortionists have begun to argue in favour of the legalisation of infanticide![70] Already, handicapped newborn children are being denied routine medical assistance in many American hospitals[71] and infanticide is commonly being committed in order to kill children born after failed abortions.  Pro-infanticide arguments are no different from those used in favour of abortion: ‘non-personhood’, ‘choice’, ‘quality of life’ and ‘unwantedness’.  At present, they mainly focus their arguments on special cases such as handicapped children.  But if they succeed in this, there is no logical reason to stop them arguing, as with abortion, for infanticide on demand.  What is of particular concern, is that the reasons used by the American Supreme court to legalise abortion on demand, are also applicable to infanticide.  For example, they used the excuse that certain ancient cultures tolerated unrestricted abortion.  The fact is that these same cultures practised infanticide even more commonly than abortion![72] What we are really dealing with is steady erosion of the respect for human life.  Who knows where this will lead?

Legalised abortion is likely to increase incidence of infanticide.  Japan[73] and China[74], countries that have had abortion on demand for longer than most other parts of the world, have serious problems with infanticide.

Abortion, therefore does not stop child abuse, but rather encourages it, and is in itself a terrible form of child abuse. 

The film, ‘The Silent Scream’ by former abortionist Bernard Nathanson, shows the horror of abortion for the unborn child.  An early abortion was filmed inside the womb by ultrasound.  At the beginning of the film, the child could be seen moving around and sucking her thumb with her heart beating at the normal rate.  When the abortionist’s instrument touches the uterine wall, the baby recoiled and her heart rate rose showing she was aware something was wrong.  When the suction machine was turned on, the child trashed around, trying to escape with her heart beating much faster than normal.  The child was then torn apart piece by piece by the suction and finally the forceps of the abortionist crushed her head.  When the abortionist, who had previously performed many thousands of abortions, saw the film, he stopped doing abortions.  An even more horrific film, ‘Eclipse of Reason’, shows a late term abortion filmed inside the womb using a fetoscope.  The most painful form of abortion is the ‘saline’, where the child is chemically burned to death over a period of about two hours, experiencing the same kind of pain that we would from a fire.[75]

e)                 Conclusion

In South Africa, there are some unwanted and abandoned children, but that does not give our society the right to kill the unborn to solve this problem.  Killing an unwanted, unborn child does not make it a ‘wanted child’.  Rather, we should make every child a ‘wanted child’, by giving them loving and compassionate help.

f)                    Alternatives to Abortion

Our responsibility in society is to help unwanted children and women with unwanted pregnancies and not to reject them.  As a responsible and caring society, we should not see the answer to our problems as the killing of innocent life, but should rather uphold the respect for and dignity of all human life.  The government should therefore assist and cooperate with the many organisations such as ‘Crisis Pregnancy’, ‘Birthright’ and other community groups, churches and voluntary organisations that have been established to help women.  Those looking after unwanted children such as the ‘Cape Town City Mission’ and ‘The Ark Mission’ and adoption agencies also need help.

Mr Lorenzo Davids, director of the seven orphanages of the Cape Town City Mission, says that he does not think that legal abortion would stop child abuse or the problem of abandoned or unwanted children and opposes the liberalisation of the laws.  He nevertheless points out that those opposed to abortion have a responsibility to put their beliefs into practice and to give welfare help to those in need.  At present there is a need for more facilities to care for orphans and he foresees greater need as a result of more parents dying of aids.  He favours cooperation and partnership between churches, non-government organisations and the state.  He suggests that churches opposing abortion should also get involved in helping to care for orphans.  [76]

Therefore, we need to create a situation where a pregnant mother has the opportunity to make positive choices.  These would be to keep and care for the child or to give it to an organisation that will see that the child receives a good upbringing through adoption or an orphanage.  We must focus on extending these solutions rather than embracing destructive, life taking ones.

Rather than using the problem of child abuse as an excuse for abortion, its real root causes should be addressed.  Organisations that already work in this area should be consulted and supported.


6.4        Aids

Recently, abortionists have suggested that abortions should be performed on mothers who are HIV positive.  Many of the arguments relating to fetal handicap also apply to this issue.[77]

a)                 The argument that killing unborn children will save the expense of looking after the children

Abortionists argue that this will save the trouble of having to care for the children after their mothers have died.  They have already decided that abortion is morally acceptable and therefore argue purely on cold economic grounds.  It is true that bringing up these children will be an economic burden on our society, but nevertheless – we must ask whether this justifies killing innocent children? Is that not putting a price on human life?

b)                 The argument that children of HIV mothers will die anyway

This is not true.  Only 20% of babies born from HIV positive mothers have the virus at birth.  All are born with HIV antibodies, but for those who are not infected, these antibodies disappear shortly afterwards.[78]  The vast majority (80%) are therefore not affected by the virus.  Even if it were possible to determine before birth whether the child was infected, that would not justify killing them.  By similar logic, it could be argued that the thousands of adults infected with the HIV virus should be killed, since they will also die anyway.  It must be recognised that a very large proportion of health spending is devoted to people who are terminally ill – should they also be killed? All of us are going to ‘die anyway‘ one day – it is just a variable probability of how long that is likely to take.

c)                  The argument that HIV infected children will have miserable lives

Those children with the virus usually develop AIDS within six months and die within two years, although with proper care they can live into their teens.  Contrary to popular belief, children with HIV are not condemned to a life of misery.  This was found from a Community Health Research project conducted by students at the University of Cape Town.  As an example, they mention Jason Kadalie, a six year old boy who has had the HIV virus from birth.  His foster mother, Mrs Kadalie, says he is a bubbly boy who enjoys life and brings joy to his parents lives.[79]

Nevertheless, if a person does not have prospects of a high ‘quality of life’, should that mean that the person has less right to life? By similar logic, someone could argue that all people who suffer from chronic depression should be eliminated! Since when do we kill the patient to cure the disease?

d)                 Alternatives

There are two problems to be dealt with here.  Firstly, to educate the public of the real dangers of aids and the ways in which it is transmitted to prevent infection.  Secondly, to show compassionate help to children who are orphaned when their parents die of AIDS.  There are already voluntary organisations working in this area, for example: ‘Cape Town City Mission’ and ‘Nazareth House’ in Cape Town, but the need will become greater in the future and we must be prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.  Orphanages and families who adopt AIDS orphans need to be given assistance.  Churches and community organisations will have to become involved in this area.

6.5        Population Growth

The argument is occasionally advanced that abortion on demand is a solution to the problem of population growth.  We believe that this, in fact, is a ‘red herring’ argument and not related to the main debate.  It is a subtle attempt to trivialise the abortion debate and divert attention from the basic issue of the right to life, but it must nevertheless be clearly answered.

a)                 The degree of the problem of ‘overpopulation’

Some deny completely the existence of any problem related to the South African population growth rate.  Others argue that ‘overpopulation’ is destined to cause mass starvation and poverty.  Looking carefully at scientific evidence it can be seen that countries with high population growth rates and stagnant economies do experience large-scale poverty.  It would, however, be simplistic to put the blame for poverty on population growth.  Rather the inverse is true: Poor people choose to have more children because children offer them security in old age.  Poverty is thus more a cause of population growth than population growth a cause of poverty.

Barbara Klugman of the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Witwatersrand states: ‘Over the years it has become clear that the number of children is not the direct cause of poverty and that family planning programs seldom reduce high fertility.  In South Africa overcrowding in the ‘homelands’ results from forced removals filling the land beyond its subsistence carrying capacity.  It is not due to people having too many children.  In urban areas there are huge informal settlements because of a policy not to build any housing for black people.  Numbers of children are not the cause of the housing shortage.  Poverty in South Africa results directly from apartheid policies. 

Where there is poverty there is usually high fertility.  Poor people often have many children for economic reasons.  Children help with farming or domestic tasks and provide security in old age.  There are also cultural reasons.  Women’s identity is usually tied to motherhood…

Influx control and migrant labour policies split families destroying the fabric of social life and undermining the social values that limited pregnancy outside marriage.’[80]

Now to get a picture of the real situation, it is necessary to look at a map of the world.  The population of the whole continent of Africa in 1991 was 642 million.  Compare this to the relatively small country of India, only a tenth of the size, which at the same time had a population of 844 million! Africa, in world terms, has an extremely low population density.[81]

b)                 Is famine caused by overpopulation?

Television reports of starving people in Africa usually show crowds queuing to receive food.  These images create the subconscious idea that countries with starving people are overpopulated.  ‘A little more than a century ago there was severe famine in Ireland.  Earlier this century there was famine in parts of the United States.  Today it is unthinkable that there should be famine in North America, Europe or Japan…  Modern famines do not affect the citizens of rich industrial countries.  They happen only in poor countries.  Why?

The most common popular explanation can be summed up in one word: overpopulation.  There are too many mouths in the world to feed.  It follows from this that famine can only be eradicated from the world by removing some of the people…  The explanation is uncomfortable.  It is also dishonest and plain wrong.[82]

This argument, which in the past has been used to discourage welfare organisations from sending food aid to starving people, is also being used by the abortionist lobby in favour of eliminating the little people in the womb.

One thing population theorists of the past failed to predict is the enormous improvement in food production from genetics and improved farming methods.  This is one of the main reasons why first world countries, which experienced famine in the last century, now have no such concern.

c)                  Real causes of famine

What can be clearly established as a real cause of famine is civil war and political instability, which was the true cause of famine in Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique and elsewhere in many places in the world.  War inhibits the distribution of food, which is also often confiscated by soldiers.  Farmers also often abandon their land to escape danger.  The seed reserve meant for use in the next season is often then eaten, which means inevitable famine.  ‘Scorched earth’ policies and the burning of crops similar to those employed by the British in the Anglo-Boer War are also often used to starve out rebels and, as a result, the civilian population also suffers.

Another serious problem that has arisen in Africa is farmers growing cash crops such as tobacco, for export rather than food for their own people.  This occurs because the prices offered by importers are higher than what local people can offer for food.  Governments who need revenue to pay interest on huge foreign debts need this income from export and thus do not discourage it.

It must also be pointed out that famines have been occurring for thousands of years in areas that were then relatively uninhabited.  Famines caused by natural drought need not be as acute as those caused by war.  A change that has taken place in modern times is the ability to transport food from one area to another and to safely store food for long periods of time.  In a situation of civil peace and good government, there is no reason for famine to occur.  Countries in Europe and North America have problems in dealing with enormous food surpluses resulting from agricultural subsidies.  If they ever experienced crop failure, food would simply be bought from elsewhere.  There is no shortage of food on the world market for those who have money to pay.[83]

d)                 Abortion as a method of population control

The most oppressive abortion legislation ever enacted is that of modern day China and is an attempt to reduce the population of that country.  China’s population program includes raiding communes in the middle of the night; arresting women who are in the later stages of pregnancy and then injecting their wombs with salt solution so that the unborn child is chemically burned to death.  This policy has intensified discrimination against women.  For the one child they are allowed, most opt for male children and thus most abortions are performed on female children.[84]   This imbalance in gender population has resulted in many other social problems.  So called ‘pro-choice’ groups in the United States have refused to speak out against this policy.[85]  In fact, some population control enthusiasts, possibly unaware of such steamrolling over human rights commend China as an example to the rest of the world.  China’s population growth rate has greatly decreased.  But is this due to abortion? ‘In China for example, the most rapid decline in fertility rates took place long before contraception became widely available and the one child family was promoted.  The decline accompanied rapid improvements in literacy and in women’s social status.[86]

It has been found that in countries such as America, where abortion on demand was legalised, people became much more casual about sex and took less precaution.  Thus more children were conceived and these children were usually the ones who were aborted.  Abortion effectively became used in place of contraception.

e)                 Real methods of achieving population stabilization.

Europe on the other hand, without any coercion, achieved a stable population prior to the legalisation of abortion.  Economic policies that led to rising income levels meant that older people did not need to rely on children for economic support.  People thus freely chose to have fewer children.

In the South African context, much has been written on possible solutions to the problem.  Illiteracy and low social status among women has been cited as a major reason for the failure to plan family size.[87]  Lack of knowledge and cultural opposition to contraceptives is also a problem.  Mr J.D.  Rockefeller, a once zealous population control advocate, admitted after the UN 1974 conference on population that imposition of family planning on underdeveloped nations has not been successful.  He said that the only methods that have worked have been to raise the standard of living, to reduce infant and childhood mortality and opportunities for education.  When this occurs, people voluntarily choose to have smaller families as they want more for each child and can expect their children to survive to adulthood and to care for them in old age.  [88] There are many possible solutions to this problem, but the point that must be stressed, is that abortion is not a solution.

Much can also be done to improve agricultural production through developing new strains of crops and educating farmers about improved methods.

f)                    The cheapening of the value of human life

If human life has decreased in value so much that killing is legitimised simply to reduce the number of people in the country, then society is in an extremely bad state.  Even if abortion was a solution to the problem of a shortage of resources (which it is not) this would still not justify it.  If it is desired to reduce the population by killing, then why are the unborn chosen to be killed?  Is it not because they are the weakest most defenceless members of society and are unable to defend themselves?  In a civilized society, we should surely speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and give special protection to the weakest members of our society rather than discriminate against them.


7         ‘Hard cases’ and the 1975 Abortion & Sterilization Act

7.1        Introduction

Abortion is presently available in our country for a limited number of reasons.  Many people are under the mistaken impression that the current law takes into account the right to life of the unborn child.  This is not true.  This section seeks to explain what is wrong with the current law and the reasoning behind the pro-life position, which was upheld by law before the legalisation of abortion in 1975[89].  The 1975 South African Abortion and Sterilization Act allowed abortion:

–       in cases where the mother’s life or physical health is threatened by the pregnancy;

–       where the mother’s mental health is in danger; where there is a danger that the child may be physically handicapped;

–       where the child is believed to have been conceived due to rape or incest;

–       and where the mother, as a result of serious mental handicap, will be unable to bring up the child.[90]

(50% are justified on psychological grounds; 25% on grounds of handicap; 20% due to danger to the physical health or life of the mother and 5% due to rape.)  [91]

Whilst we all have a responsibility to help both mothers and children in crisis, this crisis cannot be used to justify murder.  Understanding that the current law is not accepted is important to the current debate, because some are trying to argue that complete liberalization of the law can be justified as an extension of the present law.

7.2        Background: legal history of abortion in South Africa

Before legalisation in 1975, abortion was illegal in South Africa for any reason except where it was considered necessary to prevent the death of the mother.[92]  The writings of Roman-Dutch jurists, which form the basis of our common law, treated abortion and infanticide as one and the same crime.  The first recorded trial of an abortionist in South Africa took place in the Transvaal.  ‘The accused was found guilty on 18 February, 1895, of the crime of infanticide, by means “of unlawful and forcible abortion of a living fetus from a woman…in that he, on or about the 8th of November 1894, and at Johannesburg, unlawfully, wrongfully and forcibly, and with malice aforethought, killed and murdered the living fetus…[93]

The ‘Native Territories Penal Code’, which governed territories which were at the time under British control, had a similar law:

Whoever causes the death of any living child, which has not proceeded in a living state from the body of its mother…  shall be punished with imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term which may extend to seven years or a fine or both: Provided that no one shall be guilty of an offence under this section who by means employed in good faith for the preservation of the life of the mother of the child, causes the death of any such child.’[94] If the child died after being born alive (irrespective of whether or not it had ever breathed) as a result of injuries received in the womb, then the abortionist was considered guilty of murder and was therefore punished with death.  It is difficult to understand why a harsher penalty is given simply because death occurred after birth, since the aborted child is the same person, whether in or outside the womb.[95]  British law at the time was similar and listed abortion of a viable fetus as a capital offence.[96]

Sadly, our modern South African law does not offer the same kind of protection to the unborn child.  It must be emphasised that until recent decades, this was the general situation applicable in most of the world.  Some countries were stricter, with a total prohibition on abortion for any reason.  With time, the crime of abortion became treated as different to the crime of infanticide.  In 1972, at a time when many countries overseas were liberalising their abortion laws, a South African gynaecologist performed an abortion for a girl who had been raped by her brother.  Understandably, the judge failed to punish the abortionist, because he had been motivated out of compassion for the girl.  Nevertheless, the judge failed to take into account that an innocent person had been murdered, thus leaving a precedent for future killings.[97]

There was then uncertainty in the medical profession as to what cases abortion was to be allowed by the law.  New medical technology had also made it possible to diagnose handicap while the child was still in the womb and some were in favour of eugenic abortion.  Our current law was then debated and passed in parliament on the recommendations of a commission that had consulted with all interested parties on the issue.  Not all groups at the time accepted the new law, although all except one, the fifteen member ‘ARAG’ opposed abortion on demand.[98]   The Abortion and Sterilization Act No 2 of 1975 allowed abortion in cases where the mother’s life or health or mental health were endangered; where the mother was severely mentally retarded; where the pregnancy was believed to be as a result of rape and where the child was thought to be handicapped.[99]  The Act, in practice, has been much more liberally interpreted by abortionists than the political leaders who wrote it would have hoped.  In particular, the meaning of the term ‘mental health’ has been stretched well beyond the intended meaning.  Problems with this Act are dealt with in succeeding sections.

Under current South African law, the unborn child is entitled to inherit property and no division of the estate may be made until the child is born; custody of the child may be determined before birth; If the child’s father is killed as a result of someone’s negligence while the child is in the womb, then the child, when born may sue for damages for loss of support; the child is entitled to sue for damages for injuries inflicted whilst still in the womb, including attempted abortion.  In other words, the unborn child has legal rights, but not all have had the right to life.[100]

7.3        The life and physical health of the mother

We agree that abortion would be justifiable in the extremely rare case when the unborn child threatens the life of the mother.  In this instance, life is being weighed up against life, which is completely different from other cases where the life of the child is considered less important than someone else’s emotional or economic problem or simply because the expected child might inconvenience its mother.  In most cases where the unborn child threatens the life of the mother (tubal pregnancies and cancer of the womb), the child has in any case no chance of survival and the surgical removal of such children is not referred to as ‘abortion’.  There are therefore no ethical problems in these cases.

According to U.S.  Surgeon General C.  Everett Koop: ‘The fact of the matter is that abortion as a necessity to save the life of the mother is so rare as to be almost non-existent.  When an obstetrician assumes the care of a pregnant woman, he assumes care of two patients: the mother-to-be and the unborn child.  Throughout the pregnancy, it is his intent to do the best that he can for both of his patients.  Occasionally, not the life, but the health of the mother might be threatened with something such as high blood pressure.  Under these circumstances, toward the end of the pregnancy, the obstetrician might…  have to bring the baby earlier to term by Cesarean section or induced labour.  If the day comes when such a procedure is necessary, it is still the obstetrician’s intent to do the best that he can for both his patients.  Under these circumstances, the mother is essentially always saved.  But when one considers that the unborn baby is taken before due time from the protective environment of the womb, there is obviously certain mortality associated with pre-maturity and immaturity.  Nevertheless, the motivation of the obstetrician is always to save the baby as well as the mother’.  [101]

Abortion should remain legal in the rare circumstances where it is necessary to save the life of the mother, however, the attitude of the doctor should, when possible, be to try to save the lives of both the mother and the child.

7.4        Serious risk that the child could be born with a physical or mental deformity

The attitude of killing human beings because of mental or physical defects, deficiencies or inadequacies devalues the lives of handicapped people and cheapens all human life.  This was the attitude of Nazi Germany, where the killing was initiated by academics in the medical profession.  ‘The first gas chamber was designed by professors of psychiatry from 12 major German universities.  They selected patients and watched them die.  Then they slowly reduced the “price tag” until the mental hospitals were almost empty.  They were joined by some pediatricians, who began by emptying the institutions for handicapped children in 1939.  By 1945 these doctors had so lowered the price tag that they were killing bed wetters, children with misshapen ears, and those with learning disabilities.[102]

This led Hitler to later develop Nazi death camps for the Jews.  These, like abortion in many countries today were sanctioned by the state.  The Nazi government applied the same principles to the abortion law as to its euthanasia program: ‘An unborn child that is likely to present hereditary and transmissible defects may be destroyed’.[103]  Reichkommisar Kaltenbrunner directed ‘If a racially valuable result is to be expected, the abortion is to be denied…  if not, the abortion is to be granted.’  At the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, ten Nazi leaders were found guilty of ‘encouraging and compelling abortions’, which, like the slaughter of the Jews, was declared a ‘crime against humanity’.[104]

Society has a narrow understanding of what constitutes perfection and therefore value.  Many have a distorted view of handicapped people and assume that they cannot and do not enjoy life, when in fact there is no reason to believe that their quality of life is any less than that of those of us who are considered ‘genetically acceptable’.  Nevertheless, a person’s quality of life should never be used as a measure of their right to life.  Under that kind of logic, it could be argued that the rich have more right to life than the poor because their ‘quality of life’ is better.  Such an idea is unthinkable.

A recent medical development relating to the unborn, is fetal medicine.  Some defects can be corrected while the child is still in the womb through perinatal surgery.[105]  By killing the child, the doctor deprives the child of any treatment which is available and which would give the child a better chance of survival.  The medical profession should be seeking to save and improve the health and quality of our lives rather than taking lives.  The doctor also deprives the child of possible future treatments that may become available to treat genetic disorders.  This is one reason for current public disinterest in genetic screening.[106]

Another important factor is that diagnosis is not always certain.  Under the current South African law, many healthy children are aborted as a result of incorrect diagnosis.  Living evidence of this are the perfectly healthy children who are sometimes born after doctors have recommended abortion for deformity (One of these children, whose mother fortunately ignored ‘medical advice’ is now a student at the University of Cape Town and a member of our society – Students for Life).  The South African ‘Abortion and Sterilization Act’, 1975 clause 3 states that ‘Abortion may be procured…where there exists a risk that the child to be born will suffer from a physical or mental defect of such a nature that he will be irreparably seriously handicapped.’  Those who have decided in their own minds that handicapped children have no right to live, should consider the fact that under our present law, healthy children can also be killed as a result of inaccurate diagnosis.  The procedure of diagnosis ‘amniocentesis’ is also dangerous to the child and many ‘normal’ children die as a result of the procedure.

Jean Garton, in ‘Who Broke the Baby’pg81-82, writes that ‘…we cannot dehumanise others, without becoming less human ourselves.  The affirmation of the humanity of the handicapped or retarded will mean the affirmation of our own humanity.  We who are “normals” are not greater than those with mental or motor disabilities.  What is greater is our responsibility to respect and protect those who are differently gifted.

As alternatives, she suggests:

•           Insurance policies to cover newborns from birth would relieve the economic pressures facing parents of handicapped children.

•           An immunisation program which requires German Measles vaccinations for high school students would diminish the potential for producing handicapped children, by reducing the risk of exposure of pregnant women to the disease.

•           Provision of tax benefits or subsidies for people adopting handicapped children and the provision of adequate maternal nutrition that affects the developing child could contribute to a solution to this problem.

7.5        Serious threat to the mental health of the mother

Firstly, abortion is not a safe procedure.  It includes risks to the mental and physical health of a woman (see section 4.2, p15).  In reality, therefore, women who are granted abortions on psychiatric grounds are the very women whose mental condition is most likely to be aggravated by the abortion.  They are the ones at the highest risk.  ‘The more severely ill the psychiatric patient, the worse is her post-abortion psychiatric state.[107]

In an official statement of the World Health Organisation in 1970, it was stated: ‘Serious mental disorders arise more often in women with previous problems.  Thus, the very women for whom legal abortion is considered justified on psychiatric grounds are the ones who have the highest risk of post-abortion psychiatric disorders.’

Statistics from America, where abortion is available on demand, show that attempted suicide is much more common amongst women who have had abortions than in the general population.[108]

In the light of these findings, it seems entirely contrary to basic logic to allow abortion on psychiatric grounds.  Rather, in the woman’s own personal interest, every effort should be made to prevent her from having an abortion.

Although the threat of suicide is often used by women in order to obtain abortions, studies reveal that suicide is extremely rare during pregnancy.  (Between 1938 and 1958, over 13 500 Swedish women were refused abortions.  Only three committed suicide)[109]

The South African Abortion and Sterilization Act, 1975 clause 3 states: ‘Abortion may be procured…where the continued pregnancy constitutes a serious threat to the mental health of the woman concerned…’ This clause is responsible for half of the legal abortions which take place in South Africa.  This law was often used grant abortion for reasons not intended by the makers of the law.  It must also be pointed out that mental health is a relative term and can easily be expanded to accommodate all kinds of social problems.

Therefore, for medical reasons, it can be argued that firstly, abortion for mental risk is not necessary, as modern psychiatric therapy has been developed and should be used as an alternative rather than abortion.  Secondly, abortion cannot be seen as a solution because it increases the risk of mental disorder for the mother.

The current law on this point is illogical, but even if abortion were beneficial to a person with a psychiatric problem, would this justify killing an innocent child?  If a two or three year old were the cause of psychological stress to the mother, would this be justification to kill the child?  Why then is this considered adequate justification for killing the unborn child?  Clearly one cannot logically make exceptions like this.  The mental health of the mother is important, but if weighed up against the value of another person’s life, the value of the life is infinitely more important.

Alternatives

Women with psychological problems may need special help and counselling during pregnancy.  Crisis pregnancy centres can help in this area, but there is a need for more such caring organisations.

7.6        Rape and Incest

We must strongly reject both of these violent and brutal acts inflicted on the helpless woman concerned.  There is a common perception that abortion is the best solution, if not the only solution, to the problems that result from a rape and incest induced pregnancy.  The revulsion everyone feels at these terrible crimes is for some a justification of abortion.  As much as we may sympathise with the victim, we cannot see how this second act of violence (abortion) can be justified in terms of the first (rape).

Pregnancy resulting from assault rape is rare.  A study by the American Guttmacher Institute found that the chances of pregnancy resulting from a single act of unprotected intercourse by consenting and fertile adults was three percent.  Probability of pregnancy in the case of rape is much lower.  A number of factors reduce this: Possible infertility on the part of the attacker; the use of contraceptives by the victim as well as infertility due to her monthly cycle.  A major factor which makes the incidence of pregnancy from forcible rape almost non-existent is that medical research indicates that women subjected to emotional trauma will not ovulate even where under normal circumstances, they would.[110]

The argument of sympathy for rape victims is often used in debate to justify the present abortion law, because everybody is sympathetic to the rape victim.  Indeed, most people, before they have thought about the arguments carefully, agree with the law in this instance out of sympathy for the victim.  It must be recognised that the number of abortions granted for reasons of rape account for only a small fraction of legal abortions done in South Africa.  Therefore, those who agree with the current law in this rare case, should not then simply accept the Abortion and Sterilization Act as a whole.  It must also be stressed that no legal proof of rape is required by the Abortion and Sterilization Act of 1975.  Bad laws are made on exceptional cases.

A woman who has been raped is the victim of a cruel and violent act against her body.  Yet has she the right to subject the innocent life growing within her to a similar violence?  We should not kill an innocent life for the crime of its father.  Rather, it is the rapist who should be more severely dealt with.

WEBA (Women Exploited by Abortion) is an organisation of women in the United States who have had abortions and are now fighting to have the law there repealed.  Leader Nancyjo Mann writes: ‘We also have rape and incest victims among our members…  who are now under psychiatric care…  because of the abortion and not the rape’[111] She explains that the women were able to overcome the rape as it was an external act of violence over which they had no control.  They could not, however, overcome the abortion because they instinctively realised they had killed their own baby.  It was an internal act of violence not only against their own body, but also against the body of another human being.  It was also an act they could actively control and were responsible for.

Pregnancies that might occur from forcible rape can be prevented if immediate medical care is given.  If pregnancy does result, these two victims are innocent and they both need support.  Abortion is a destructive approach to the problem and leaves the woman harmed and in pain.  She needs to be helped through the pregnancy with love, care and support.  The alternative of adoption rather than abortion should be given to her and special support if she chooses to keep the child.  Is it not beneficial for all concerned that rather a positive, life respecting solution be sought?  Even if the mother has to give the child up for adoption, she knows she has given life, rather than taken a life and this is a positive step that will assist the mother in her own healing process.

Another problem with allowing abortion for rape is that it is difficult to prove especially when a woman is already pregnant.  It is also common for a woman to claim a rape has taken place, simply to try to obtain an abortion.  For this reason, the British abortion law, which is extremely permissive, does not allow it on these grounds.[112]

Alternative Solutions

The danger of rape is an extremely serious threat to women in our society and solutions towards reducing it should take a high priority as part of the government’s responsibility to ensure safety for all its citizens.  Abortion cannot solve the problem of rape.  More severe penalties for convicted rapists would help to discourage this crime.  Efforts should also be made to improve general safety in cities especially at night, through more visible street policing, improved street lighting etc.  Promoting high moral standards in society should also have a positive effect in combating sexual crimes such as incest and rape.

Women who are pregnant as a result of rape need special counselling and help – especially with adoption if they choose not to keep their child.  They also may need economic help during and after the pregnancy.  Organisations offering counselling support such as ‘Rape Crisis’, ‘Lifeline’, ‘Tele-friend’ and ‘Crisis Pregnancy’ should be supported and aided so that they can continue and be more effective in the good work they are doing.

8         Conclusions

Most people who favour permissive abortion laws do so out of ignorance of the facts concerning the issue.  This ignorance is made more severe by euphemistic language, deceitful slogans and false statistics used by the abortionist lobby.  Many political leaders in the past had initially favoured abortion and only after it had been legalised did they discover the true facts of the issue.  By that time, although they fought hard against it, they were unable to do anything to change what they had allowed.[113]  Even for many medical doctors, knowledge is often confined to the everyday cases they deal with and many are ignorant about the facts of abortion and life in the womb.

On social issues, many people have swallowed false statistics and ideas fed to the press by the pro-abortion movement.  On ethical issues, many believe the abortionist position to be kind and compassionate, not noticing that their arguments rest on the assumption that the rights of the weak and helpless are unimportant.  Many assume that the lack of public protest against the present law legitimises it.  They forget that those killed by abortion never have the opportunity to speak for themselves.  Many people are against abortion, but do not speak out because they do not know the facts needed to do so.

Now, having been informed of the facts, you have a responsibility to take decisions on the principle of what you know is right and to act on those decisions.  Will you ignore the facts of life before birth, the pain abortions inflict on unborn children, their mothers and others in society?  Will you ignore the beliefs and opinions of the South African public, the majority of whom oppose abortion on demand?  South Africa needs leaders who will take decisions on the basis of what is right, not what happens to be ‘politically correct’ at the time.

With this in mind, we suggest the following:

•           Mass education on the issue is necessary.  To stop illegal abortions, we must make the ordinary person aware of the facts of life before birth – then they will not choose to seek abortions.  This education can take place through churches, newspapers, trade unions, schools, television etc.

•           More welfare help for those in need.  Some pro-abortionists, sincerely hoping to help women with the trauma of unwanted pregnancies, have resorted to the wrong methods of doing this.  We must suggest alternatives.  All of us need to make some kind of effort in this direction.  Organisations already working in these areas such as ‘Crisis Pregnancy’ or ‘Birthright’ need more help, as do homes for unmarried mothers.  Organisations helping unwanted children are also important.  In all of this, there should be cooperation between non-government organisations, churches and the state institutions.  There also needs to be a change in public attitude, from ignoring problems that do not affect them personally.  Adoption should be promoted as a loving alternative so that all of our children are wanted by someone.  This will also enable a mother with an unwanted pregnancy to have the choice to keep her child or give it to a family who will lovingly care for it.  We also need to bring about a change in attitudes towards single mothers so that they are not under social pressure to have abortions.

•           As far as social issues are concerned, it has been demonstrated that abortion will not solve these problems, but that does not mean that they should be ignored.  All the recommendations on alternatives should be carefully considered and areas in which the state can give assistance should be given attention.

•           Our nation must change its morally unacceptable abortion laws, which have been in place since 1975.  These should be replaced by laws designed to protect the innocent unborn children.  The Bill of Rights, which at present is not sufficiently explicit on the issue of the right to life, should be altered to ensure this protection.

Appendices

Open letter from Dr Bernard Nathanson

Dr. Nathanson used to be director of the largest abortion clinic in the world, in New York, with 35 doctors working under his supervision.  During his tenure, 60,000 abortions were performed there ‑ 120 every day of the year including Sundays, except Christmas Day.  He performed another 15,000 with his own hands in his private practice.  He now deplores this record and puts the case against abortion.

I regret to say I am personally responsible for 75,000 abortions.  But this legitimises my credentials to speak to you with some authority on the issue.  I was one of the founders of the National Association for the Repeal of the Abortion Laws (NARAL) in the US in 1968.  A truthful poll of opinion then would have found that Americans were against permissive abortion.  Yet within five years we had convinced the US Supreme Court to issue the decision, which legalised abortion throughout America in 1973 and produced virtual abortion on demand up to birth.

How did we do this?  It is important to understand the tactics involved because these tactics have been used throughout the Western world with one permutation or another, in order to change abortion law.

THE FIRST KEY TACTIC WAS TO CAPTURE THE MEDIA.  We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one.  Knowing that if a true poll was taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls.  We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favour of permissive abortion.  This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie.  Few people care to be in the minority.

We aroused enough sympathy to sell our programme of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the US.  The actual figure was less than 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000.  Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public.  The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually.  The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000.  These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.

Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalising abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally.  In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as primary method of birth control in the US and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500% since legalisation.

THE SECOND KEY TACTIC WAS TO PLAY THE CATHOLIC CARD.  We systematically vilified the Catholic Church and its “socially backward ideas” and picked on the Catholic hierarchy as the villain in opposing abortion.  This theme was played on endlessly.  We fed the media such lies as “We all know that opposition to abortion comes from the hierarchy and not from most Catholics” and “Polls prove time and time again that most Catholics want abortion law reform”.  And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the influence of the Catholic hierarchy and that Catholics in favour of abortion are enlightened and forward-looking.  An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-­Catholic groups opposing abortion.  The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions were (and still are) monolithically opposed to abortion was constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists’ opinions.

THE THIRD KEY TACTIC WAS THE DENIGRATION AND SUPPRESSION OF ALL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION.  I am often asked what made me change my mind.  How did I change from prominent abortionist to pro-life advocate?  In 1973 I became director of obstetrics of a large hospital in New York city and had to set up a perinatal research unit, just at the start of a great new technology which we now use every day to study the fetus in the womb.  A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that the definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one.  Fetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy.

Why, you may well ask, do some American doctors who are privy to the findings of fetology discredit themselves by carrying out abortions?  Simple arithmetic: at $300 a time 1.55 million abortions mean an industry generating $500,000,000 annually, of which most goes into the pocket of the physician doing the abortion.

ABORTION IS THE PURPOSEFUL DESTRUCTION OF WHAT IS UNDENIABLY HUMAN LIFE.  It is an impermissible act of deadly violence.  One must concede that unplanned pregnancy is a wrenchingly difficult dilemma.  But to look for its solution in a deliberate act of destruction is to trash the vast resourcefulness of human ingenuity and to surrender the public weal to the classic utilitarian answer to social problems.

As a scientist I know, not believe, know that human life begins at conception.  Although I am not a formal religionist, I believe with all my heart that there is a divinity of existence which commands us to declare a final and irreversible halt to this infinitely sad and shameful crime against humanity. 

Yours sincerely,

Bernard N.  Nathanson M.D.


Letter on birth deformity

In 1962, there was a great controversy in England over whether or not abortion should be permitted to destroy unborn children who had been handicapped by a drug taken by pregnant women to cure morning sickness.  This drug caused the children to be born with stunted limbs.  The following letter appeared in the Daily Telegraph[114]

Trowbridge

Kent

December 8, 1962

Sirs

We were disabled from causes other than Thalidomide, the first of us having two useless arms and hands; the second, two useless legs; and the third, the use of neither arms nor legs.

We were fortunate…in having been allowed to live and we want to say with strong conviction how thankful we are that none took it upon themselves to destroy us as useless cripples.

Here at the Delarue school of spastics, one of the schools of the National Spastic Society, we have found worthwhile and happy lives and we face our future with confidence.  Despite our disability, life still has much to offer and we are anxious, if only metaphorically, to reach out to the future.

This, we hope, will give comfort and hope to the parents of Thalidomide babies, and at the same time serve to condemn those who would contemplate the destruction of even a limbless baby.

Yours faithfully,

Elane Duckett

Glynn Verdon

Caryl Hodges


The Hippocratic Oath

This oath, used by the ancient Greeks, has been used as a standard for medical ethics for thousands of years until a few decades ago, when abortion began to gain acceptance in the medical profession.

‘…The regimen I adopt shall be for the benefit of the patients according to ability and judgement, and not for their hurt or wrong.  I will give no deadly drug to any, though it be asked of me, nor will I counsel such, and especially I will not aid a woman to procure abortion…


     [1]Pro-abortionist arguing on ‘Agenda’ TV debate, April 1994

     [2]’The crime of abortion’, Unpublished PhD Thesis at University of Pretoria, Linda Hawthorne, 1982,p216

     [3]As an example, Marcus Richardson of Cincinnati, Ohio was born at four and a half months (19 weeks), a perfectly normal child.

     [4]’The Tiniest Humans’, Prof J.  Le Jeune and Prof Sir A.  Liley, edited by R.  Sassone,1977,p36

     [5]See Appendix: ‘Open letter from Dr Bernard Nathanson’

     [6]Contact Students for Life if you would like to view ultrasound video of the unborn child’s activity from a very early stage in the womb.

     [7]’Abortion: Questions and Answers’, Dr and Mrs J.  Willke, Hayes Publishing Co, 1990,p17&194

     [8]’Matters of Life and Death’, F.  Beckwith & N.  Geisler, Baker Book House, Michigan, p23

     [9]’The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology’, Fourth Edition, K.L.  Moore PhD.,1988, WB Saunders Company, London

     [10]’The first nine months of life’,G.  Lux Flanagan,Simon and Schuster,New York,1962,p62

     [11]H.B.  Valman & J.F.  Person, British Medical Journal, ‘What the fetus feels’, 26 Jan 1980,p233

     [12]See ‘Life or Death’ brochure for picture.

     [13]’Hands Off’, Humanity Publishing Society, New Zealand

     [14]A Child is Born, Lennart Nilson,Faber and Faber, London, 1977

     [15]’The Tiniest Humans’, Prof J.  Le Jeune and Prof Sir A.  Liley, edited by R.  Sassone,1977,p37

     [16]This fact has been proved as a result of medical experiments.  In 1984, twenty-six American university Professors of medicine signed a letter to President Reagan informing him of this fact.

     [17]Risks, Benefits and Controversies in Fertility Control”.  JJ Scarria, GI Zatuchni, JJ Speidel.  Harper&Row Publishers, New York, p274-91

     [18]’Cervical Dilation-Mechanical Versus Laminaria Versus Chemical Techniques’.  B.E.  Greer& W.  Droegemueller in ‘Risks, Benefits and Controversies in Fertility Control’ JJ.  Scarra et al, Harper& Row, New York, 1977

     [19]”False Claims about RU486- the Abortion Drug”, SPUC, London, 1990

     [20]This video is available on request from Students for Life

     [21]”Contraception Science and Practice”, M.Filshie& J.Guillebaud, Butterworths, London,1989, p265

     [22]”Prostaglandins and Reproduction”, S.M.  Karim, MTP Press, 1975,p83.

     [23]G.  Tsalacopoulos et al, ‘Termination of mid-trimester pregnancy with intramuscular 15-(s)-15-methyl-prostaglandin F2alpha’, South African Medical Journal, May 1982, p822

     [24]F.  Guidozzi et al.  ‘Major complications associated with extra-amniotic prostaglandin F2alpha termination of the mid-trimester pregnancy.’, South African Medical Journal, Vol82 August 1992, p102

     [25]You, 13 June 1991,p104

     [26]Nancyjo Mann, ‘Women Exploited by Abortion’

     [27]”Pharmacological Methods of Inducing Mid-trimester Abortion:Risks and Benefits.  WE Brenner et al.  in Risks, Benefits and Controversies in Fertility Control, JJ Scarra.  G.I.  Zatuchni, JJ Speidel, Harper& Row, New York, 1977

     [28]Available on request from Students for Life

     [29]”Contraception Science and Practice”, M.Filshie & J.Guillebaud, Butterworths, London,1989, p263

     [30]J.V.  Larsen.  ‘Induced Abortion’.  South African Medical Journal, 27 May 1978, p854

     [31]’Back to Baal’, Dr J.  Dobson in Joy Magazine, Oct/Nov 1993

     [32]The Argus, 3 January 1994

     [33]’Spare Parts for the Body Politic’, New Scientist, 19 February 1994, p44

     [34]”Contraception Science and Practice”, M.  Filshie & J.  Guillebaud.  Butterworths Publishers, 1989, p268

     [35]New Dimensions,September/October 1991,p41

     [36]”Abortion: the crisis in morals and medicine”, NM de S Cameron& P.F.  Sims,IVP,1978,p65

     [37]’Before you make the decision’, Women Exploited By Abortion, pamphlet

     [38]’Aborted Women: Silent No More’, David Reardon, Westchester Il: Crossway, 1987

     [39]”Abortion:Questions and Answers”, Dr&Mrs J.  Willke, p135

     [40]Nancy Michaels.  “Helping Women Recover from Abortion”, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1988

     [41]The Argus, January 20,1994

     [42]Radio South Africa, 14 April, 1994

     [43]New Ground:Population Factsheet, Autumn, 1994,p3

     [44] ‘A Message from Dr Bernard Nathanson’.  Open letter circulated worldwide.  See appendix at back of document.

     [45]Christopher Tietze M.D., ‘Abortion in Europe’, Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, San Francisco, October 1966

     [46]’Who Broke the Baby? by Jean Garton.

     [47]Moscow News, 19 Jan 1989.

     [48]J.V.Larsen.  “Induced Abortion”.  South African Medical Journal.  May 1978

     [49]Boes.F.E.  “Maternal mortality in Southern Africa”, 1980-1982.  South African Medical Journal vol 71.  Feb 1987.

     [50]South African Statistics.  Published by Central Statistical Service, Pretoria, 1990

     [51]’A Message from Dr Bernard Nathanson’, Open letter circulated worldwide

     [52]US Dept.  HHS.  Center for Disease Control, Abortion Surveillance, Nov 1980 cited in Abortion: Questions and Answers by Dr&Mrs Willke,p169.

     [53] When Does Life Begin?, J.  Ankerberg & J.  Weldon,p137

     [54]A.R.A.G.  Newsletter, October 1992

     [55]Open Lecture on Abortion given at UCT Medical School, March 1994

     [56]Central Statistical Services, pers.  comm., April 1994

     [57]Weekend Argus, 23 April 1994, p24

     [58]Human Sciences Research Council poll taken in 1992.  Quoted on ‘Agenda’ television debate, March 1994.  A poll taken by a pro-abortion organisation called the ‘National Progressive Health Care Network’ yielded a similar result (quoted on Radio South Africa, 14 April 1994).  A poll of young people taken by the Readers Digest also found the majority opposed to abortion (Feb 1994 issue).

     [59]For example, on ‘Agenda’ TV debate, April 1994

     [60]The Crime of Abortion:A Historical and Comparative Study, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Pretoria,1982,p239-240.

     [61]Wertham, The German Euthanasia Program, Hayes Publishing Co.  Cinn:1977

     [62]P.  Cameron et al.  “How much do Mothers love their Children,” Rocky Mt.  Phycological Assn.  May 12, 1972

     [63]A.J.  Ferrera, “The Pregnant Woman’s Emotional Attitude and Its Reflection on the Newborn,” American Journal Orthopsychiatry, vol 30,1960,p553; E.Pohlman, “Unwanted Conception, Research on Undesirable Consequences,” Eugenics Quarterly, vol 14, 1967,p143

     [64]Henshaw SK.  et al.  “Abortion services in the United States, 1984 and 1985” Family Planning Perspectives.  19(2):63-70, 1987 March-April

     [65]Henshaw SK.  & Silverman “The characteristics and prior contraceptive use of U.S.  abortion patients”, Family Planning Perspectives, 20(4):158-168, 1988, Jul-Aug

     [66]Personal Communication, 27 April 1994

     [67]Norman L.  Geisler, Christian Ethics: Options and Issues, Grand Rapids, MI:Baker, 1989.

     [68]David Reardon, Aborted Women:Silent No More, Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1987

     [69]A.R.A.G.  Newsletter, October 1992

     [70]’Whatever Happened to the Human Race?’, F.L.  Schaeffer & C.Everett Koop, Marshall Morgan & Scott, p51

     [71]’Matters of Life and Death’, F.J Beckwith & N.L.  Geisler, Baker Book House, p132

     [72]’The Right to Live, The Right to Die’, C.  Everett Koop, Living Books, p42

     [73]The Sunday Times (England), June 23,1974

     [74]Weekend Argus,April 23,1994,p24

     [75]Contact Student for Life to view these films on video.

     [76]Personal Communication, 2 May 1994

     [77]Letter to South African Medical Journal, Vol 82, August 1992

     [78]Dr Bonnie Kay (Visiting staff,UCT Medical Dept.  Open lecture.  March 1994)

     [79]UCT MBChB Community View Research Project, 1993

     [80]New Ground: The Journal of Development and the Environment, Number 15, Autumn 1994,p7-8.

     [81]United Nations Demographic Yearbook, United Nations Publications, New York, 1992.

     [82]”Green Facts”, Michael Allaby, Hamlyn Publishing, 1986

     [83]”Green Facts”, Michael Allaby, Hamlyn Publishing, 1986

     [84]Weekend Argus,April 24,1994,p24

     [85]New Dimensions, October 1991,p32

     [86]New Ground: The Journal of development and the Environment, Number 15, Autumn 1994, p8

     [87]New Ground, Number 15, Autumn 1994

     [88]Willke,J.  Abortion: Questions and Answers,p163.

     [89]Minister of Health speaking in parliament 18 February 1972, Parliamentary debates p1443.

     [90]Abortion and Sterilization Act NO.  2 of 1975, Clause 3

     [91]Statistics taken from Dept of National Health and Population Development Annual Reports

     [92]The Crime of Abortion: A historical and comparative study, L.  Hawthorne, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Pretoria, 1992, p237

     [93]A.P.  v The State,South African Law Reports-Transvaal,1895-1896,p103

     [94]Native Territories Penal Code, No 24 1886, clause 164, p2386

     [95]Native Territories Penal Code, See clauses 134 and 142

     [96]Contraception Science and Practice, M.  Filshie & J.  Guillebaud, Butterworths, London, 1989, p251

     [97]The Crime of Abortion:A Historical and Comparative Study, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Pretoria,1982,p223

     [98]The Crime of Abortion:A Historical and Comparative Study, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Pretoria,1982,p239-240.

     [99]Abortion and Sterilization Act No 2 of 1975 Clause 3.

     [100]’The South African Abortion Act – An Assault on the Image of God’.  A.R.L Bertrand, 1981

     [101]’The right to live, The right to die’, C.  Everett Koop, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois,1985,p61

     [102]Wertham, The German Euthanasia Program, Hayes Publishing Co.  Cinn, 1977,p47

     [103](German Penal Code and Hamburg Eugenics Court,1933): ‘The Abortion Holocaust’ W.Brennan, Landmark Press, 1983

     [104] “Trials of the War Criminals,” Nuremburg Military Tribunal, Washington DC:USGPO, vol IV, p610.

     [105]”Obstetrics by Ten Teachers”, 15th Edition, Hodder& Stoughton Ltd, London, England, 1990,p348

     [106]’Few take up offer of gene screening’, New Scientist, 18 September, 1993,p6

     [107] E.  Sandberg, ‘Psychology of Abortion’, in Comprehensive Handbook of Psychiatry, 3rd Ed Kaplan and Friedman Publishers.

     [108] Dr&Mrs Willke,Abortion: Questions and Answers, Hayes Publishing Co, p130

     [109] J.  Ottoson, ‘Legal Abortion in Sweden’, Jour.  Biosocial Sciences, vol 3, 1971, p173.

     [110]F.D.  Mecklenburg, M.D., “Indications for Induced Abortion,” Abortion and Social Justice, New York, 1972, cited in “Who Broke the Baby?” by J.  Garton, 1979 ,p76

     [111]’Women form new group to fight abortions’, Washington Times interview with WEBA leader Nancyjo Mann: pamphlet reprint.

     [112]Abortion Act,1967 quoted in Abortion: the crisis in morals and medicine, N.  Cameron and P.  Sims.,1986

     [113]For example, in America: The first American state legislature to legalise abortion, New York did so in 1970.  They repealed the law in 1972, but the repeal was vetoed by the governor.  Abortion legalised in all states in 1973 by Supreme Court.(‘Abortion:Questions& Answers’,Dr&Mrs J.C.  Willke,Hayes Publishing Co,p20) President Bush, likewise changed his view on the issue and became pro-life.(ARAG Newletter, Oct 1992).

     [114]”The Right to Live, The Right to Die”, C.Everett Koop,Tyndale House Publishers, 1980 p63