Do you have to tell the dad you're having an abortion? The law says NO in SA


Abortions are very scary for most of us and when we hear people speaking about it, it sends chills down our spines. But is it really that bad?

Not all women are prepared for the prospect of motherhood and there are times when the circumstances are not ideal. Whatever the reason may be, this is a reality some go through and they don't need to be judged because of it. In the end, we all do what we think is best for ourselves. 

If you're a Glee fan then you'll definitely remember Santana. Her character went through many ordeals but throughout she remained strong. In reality, Naya Rivera was not that much different. The actress recently revealed that she had an abortion without her then partner (who is currently her husband) knowing about it. 

Rivera said in an interview on chat show, The Real, that when she made the decision, she made it for herself and that she hadn't shared it with Ryan Dorsey at the time. 

She continued by saying that Dorsey was nothing short of amazing and understanding about all of it. She said: "He said, 'In the short time that we dated, I wish I could have done something to make you feel like you could have trusted me with that information because I would have loved to have been there for you'."

Insensitive or the right decision?

Now for some this would be a sweet moment, but others might be angered by the fact that she didn't inform her partner about her pregnancy or her decision regarding terminating the pregnancy. But what does the law say and what do our registered organisations have to say about it?

“According to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996, ”A woman under the age of 18 will be advised to consult her parents, but she can decide not to inform or consult them if she so chooses. A woman who is married or in a life-partner relationship will be advised to consult her partner, but again she can decide not to inform or consult him/her. An exception is that if the woman is severely mentally ill or has been unconscious for a long time, consent of a life-partner, parent or legal guardian is required."

We spoke to Andrea Thomson, Advocacy and Engagement Officer at Marie Stopes SA.

1. Does a pregnant woman need the consent of her partner and does the partner need to be present during the process?

Absolutely not. No consent is needed. 

2. What are the processes that the pregnant woman has to go through in order to have an abortion?

There are no specific guidelines or rules the pregnant woman has to follow. If she has made her decision, she needs to seek out a healthcare provider. All that's then left to be done is for her to complete a standard informed consent form in order to start the process. 

3. Do you provide after care? What are the options given to these women?

After care or counseling is not mandatory, because these women are usually comfortable and certain about their decision. However, if we have cases where the pregnant woman has had some difficulty in making that decision, we will refer her to a professional. 

4. Is there an age limit with regards to abortions? Or do you provide this service to women/girls of any age?

We provide this service to women of any age. If you are old enough to get pregnant, you're old enough to have an abortion if it is the best course of action for you at the time.  

5. How do you handle teen pregnancies?

We follow the same processes as any other pregnant woman. However, we encourage the person to speak to a trusted adult about the decision and if someone is struggling with her decision we refer her for pre-counselling. Most young women have done their research and are sure about what they want to do; they ultimately do not need consent from anyone besides themselves.  

For more information, visit the Marie Stopes website or call 0800 11 77 85.

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