The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) is a pan African network of organisations committed to African feminism and the achievement of bodily autonomy, agency, freedom and justice for women in Africa. CAL works to influence change in the ideological, structural, institutional and interpersonal domains in order to transform Africa into a place where all people enjoy the full range of human rights, secure in the knowledge that all people are recognised as full citizens, with rich and diverse cultures.
We collaborate with national organisations in South Africa, including the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition (SRJC), to defend and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including the right to abortion on demand as currently provided for in national legislation.
The SRJC have brought to our attention the proposed Private Members’ Bill on Abortion proposed by Hon Cheryllyn Dudley of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) as a direct attempt to undermine women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, bodily autonomy and agency by placing procedural obstacles in the way of women seeking safe and lawful terminations of pregnancy. For this reason, CAL joins the SRJC and other organisations and individuals in South Africa to object to this proposed bill in its entirety.
We are of the view that additional requirements as suggested in the ACDP Bill will result in more barriers, particularly for women facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and oppression in the context of a public health system which is already struggling to meet the demand for safe, legal abortion services. Interventions to improve access to safe, legal abortion care in South Africa are what should be put into place—not the proposed policies of the ACDP which have already proved detrimental in other settings.
We encourage all individuals, activists, civil society and non-governmental organisations concerned with upholding the demand for freedom and autonomy for women’s bodies to sign the petition here and to write submissions similar to the one done by the Coalition and the SRJC, addressed to the honourable Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.
Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)