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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Contextualising choice: abortion, equality and the right to make decisions concerning reproduction
Author:Birenbaum, JoannaISNI
Periodical:South African Journal on Human Rights
Geographic term:South Africa
Equality and Liberation
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Family Planning and Contraception
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02587203.1996.11834921
Abstract:In the context of women's lives, reproductive rights and equality rights are inextricably linked. Sensitivity to the unequal status of women is essential to an understanding of what conditions must exist for women truly to be able 'to make decisions concerning reproduction'. This article addresses the relationship between the right to reproductive autonomy and the right to equality in South Africa by focusing on one issue within the larger reproductive rights agenda: abortion. Part 1 argues that both textually and in spirit, the 1996 Constitution requires a substantive (including women's right to equality) interpretation of s 12(2)(a). (Section 12(2)(a) provides that 'everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to make decisions concerning reproduction'.) Part 2 applies this substantive understanding of s 12(2)(a) to the issue of abortion. The conclusion is that full protection of the right to make decisions concerning reproduction under s 12(2)(a) requires a more permissive abortion regime than exists under the current legislation. Permissive abortion legislation is a necessary, though in no way sufficient, measure in the process of overcoming systemic gender discrimination in South Africa. Notes, ref.