Health care workers are being allowed to opt in and out of their duties “based on their personal beliefs”. Thousands of women continue to die at the hands of illegal abortionists because they are being turned away by some doctors and nurses who don’t believe in a women’s right to choose. They are using what is known as ‘Conscientious objection’ to justify their abuse of power. They are claiming to be opposing abortion, that their right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief trumps the rights of women to access health, equality and dignity.
This practice is not new, it is an ongoing crisis. But right now we have an opportunity to change this. The Western Cape Department of Health has already put in place rules that force health workers to divorce their personal beliefs from their legal obligation to provide health care. With the right to choose being in the media and being discussed, and increased pressure on the Minister of Health, if enough of us come together we can use this moment to force the Department of Health to act.
In a recent Checkpoint Etv episode on abortion, we saw Dr Monica Molatlhegi saying;
“As a Pro-Life, it means that I do not do not agree with it (abortion), and I will not help the patient or even refer the patient to anybody who will do it, but I will help the patient whether they have lost blood, whether they are septic. I will treat them, but I will not be part of the one of doing abortion because, at conception life starts so it is not her life alone”.
See Dr Molatlhegi’s full Checkpoint interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZeeRvmOvko
Dr Molatlhegi is just one of many in the public health system who are doing this, we cannot allow this practice to continue, the Department of Health is sending women to early graves that could easily be avoided by providing them with safe legal abortion services. But, we can change this, already in the Western Cape, there are rules that public health workers have to follow. If one province can do this, all the others can if we demand the Health Minister acts.
Dear Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi,
Stop allowing health care workers like Dr Monica Molatlhegi to opt in and out of their duties, whilst thousands of women continue to die at the hands of illegal abortionists. As employees of the Department of Health, doctors, nurses and other health professionals must do their job and can’t be allowed to deny patients access to medical treatment and services.
We demand that you adopt and implement the Western Cape: Termination of Pregnancy: Policy, Guidelines and Protocols  nationally, in order to eliminate conscientious objections to provision of abortion services.
 Unconscionable: Health workers' right to refuse abortions vs women's right to choose, Marion Stevens, Mandi Mudarikwa for Bhekisisa 21 June 2018
 Accessibility in Public Health, Checkpoint 9 October 2018