Let’s call ‘conscientious objection’ by its name: Obstruction of access to care and abortion in South Africa
Satang Nabaneh, Marion Stevens and Lucia Berro Pizzarossa
24th October 2018
South Africa has one of the most liberal laws on abortion and constitutionally recognizes reproductive rights as human rights. However, data shows important difficulties translating the legal norms into effective access to services. One of the key challenges is physicians’ refusal to perform abortions invoking an “ad hoc, unregulated and at times incorrect” conscientious objection. The Department of Health is now spearheading a reform of the abortion guidelines aiming to bring them in line with human rights standards and reframing the refusal as “obstruction of access to care”.