Is there room for religious ethics in South African abortion law?

Faadiela Jogee


In light of the prominence and influence of secular bioethics, one could argue that religious ethics concerning weighty medical ethical issues such as abortion are often overlooked. South Africa (SA) is one of just five African countries which have legalised abortion without undue restriction, notwithstanding its gestational restrictions, placing it among the countries with the most liberal abortion laws in Africa.[1] More than 94% of South Africans are religious, predominantly following Christianity, African Traditional Religion, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism.[2] This raises the question of whether contemporary abortion law is inclusive of the religious ethical values that dictate the lives of the great majority of citizens. This article will explore religious ethics and secular morality in SA, followed by a discussion of the legal status of the fetus and contemporary abortion legislation. Subsequently, this article will determine whether the law is inclusive of religious ethical views on abortion, and if so, how.

Author's affiliations

Faadiela Jogee, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2018;11(1):46-51. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2018.v11i1.00624

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-07-12
Date published: 2018-07-12

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