Memorandum to MEC for Health

The Honourable, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health
Your Excellency,
We, the Catholics of Johannesburg, submit to you this memorandum, which expresses our following deep concerns regarding our country’s ‘Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act’ (hereafter referred to as the ‘Choice Act’) which legalises abortion on demand. In particular we wish to again draw your excellency’s attention to the following facts which we stated in our previous memorandum to yourself, dated 13th March, 2010.
1. It is an irrefutable scientific fact that human life commences with conception and it is the teaching of the Catholic Church that human life must be legally protected from its beginning until natural death.
2.The most fundamental human right is the right to life. The ‘Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act’ denies this right to the child in the mother’s womb. This is a direct attack on the dignity of the human person and effectively treats a certain group of persons (pre-born children) as having fewer rights than any other group of persons. This is a new “apartheid” and a new “holocaust” aimed at those so weak that they are denied even the opportunity to develop a voice to raise against their oppression.
3. Since the passing of the ‘Choice Act’ at least 931,248 children (Government Statistics up to 31st December, 2010) have been denied the right to life, due to legal surgical abortions. (This does not take into account the unlimited deaths of babies due to the escalation of “backstreet” abortions in our country’s abortion industry.)
4. Even though nine out of ten South Africans consider abortion ‘wrong’ (HSRC Review, Volume 6, No.1, March 2008) our parliament has seen fit to pass a law legalising abortion. Parliamentarians and government officials therefore bear the responsibility before God and the people for this law.
In addition to the above mentioned concerns, we wish to record our dismay at the imminent implementation by the government of the concept known as “medical termination of pregnancy” in our country’s health care facilities. This concept will introduce the chemical termination of pregnancies up to 56 days in duration, to supplement the present surgical legalized abortions. Due to the ease with which this concept can be utilized, it will increase dramatically the number of legalized abortions which take place in our country every year.
Notwithstanding our above deep concerns, we have been encouraged by a recent press report made by your excellency in an address to the ‘National Nursing Summit’ in Johannesburg. These statements indicated a concern by your excellency about the concept of legal abortions in general, especially regarding its utilization as a method of birth control. If these statements indicate a narrowing of the opinion gap on legalized abortion between the government and a large section of our population, this is greatly to be welcomed in the interests of national unity. A logical sequence hereto would be a national referendum as to whether the ‘Choice Act’ should be drastically curtailed or discontinued to exist at all.
In conclusion, we respectfully petition our President that the aforesaid ‘Choice Act’ be repealed by our parliament as soon as possible.
We offer your Excellency our prayers and best wishes.
For the Catholics of Johannesburg
Buti Tlhagale
Catholic Archbishop of Johannesburg

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