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Abortions Affect Adoptions

By Elzanne Badenhorst (of Rapport newspaper)

      Johannesburg (translated)


For the childless who would like to adopt a baby, the chances are looking increasingly remote. The reason for this is the extent of abortions in South Africa.

In the past week those in the know have confirmed that the number of adoptions have reduced since abortion legislation took effect almost four years ago. According to Dr. Albu van Eeden, executive chief of Doctors for Life, it is an international trend when abortion is legalised. It therefore does not surprise me. I think abortion is viewed as an instant remedy. Women are possibly not considering other options.

Dr. Claude Newbury, national president of the pro-life organisation, told Rapport this past week: The easier access to abortion is definitely playing a big role in the reduction in the number of births.

Dr. Mary Dyer, president of the Abortion Rights Action Group emphasised that almost no research has been done into the relationship between abortions and adoptions from which one could draw conclusions. On the other hand Mrs. Riekie van der Berg, executive director of SA Cares for Life, believes that abortion legislation has definitely led to a reduction in adoptions.

We are experiencing that more women are deciding on abortion since legislation came into effect that the biological father must be informed, because the mother does not want the father to care for the child.

Miss Pamela Rubushe is the head of welfare services at the Doranginza hospital in the Port Elizabeth area. In her area, she says, there has been a distinct reduction in adoptions in the recent past. However, she does not attribute it to the law concerning the choice of termination of pregnancy which came into effect on 1 February 1997.

Prospective adoptive parents in my opinion are more concerned than ever over the possibility of adopting a child that is HIV positive. We still find children who have been thrown away by their parents. Quite often the mother decides against offering her child up for adoption when the baby is born.

She says the number of newly born throw-away babies did however reduce because women now legally have access to abortions.

Mrs. Gail Schreiner, project manager of SA Cares for Life, is of the opinion that one of the main aims of the abortion legislation is to reduce teenage pregnancies. I do not believe this has been successful.

Mr. Paul Cornelissen, managing director of the Marie Stopes clinics group, revealed the following figures regarding abortions carried out countrywide:


*1997: Marie Stopes clinics   7 445; government hospitals (about) 26 401

*1998: Marie Stopes clinics  11 427; government hospitals (about) 35 476

*1999: Marie Stopes clinics  13 697; government hospitals (about) 45 000

*2000: Marie Stopes clinics  15 484; government hospitals (about) 41 500





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