Moral rights conferred onto foetus to protect the notion of potential life. Is there need to amend and develop legislation in South Africa to accord legal protection to a viable foetus?
MetadataShow full item record
The aim of this dissertation is to assess the legal status of the foetus within the legislative parameters of South Africa. I will look at the fundamental reproductive rights of a women as envisaged in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa versus the unborn and whether or not there are foetal interests conferred to the unborn be it legal or moral. One of the main concepts that is of importance is the issue of “viability” and how the concept of foetal viability is interpreted, this will be examined from both a medical and legal context with regard of how the concept of “viability is interpreted by the world. I will compare the United States of America (USA) and India in terms of their legal and medical assessments of foetal viability and termination of pregnancy. This dissertation is to present the current debate on the issue of recognition of foetal rights. In South Africa, does not have any specific legislation that confers rights to a foetus. This is largely due to the recognition of maternal autonomy in the South African Constitution which is silent on foetal interests. Several states in the USA has developed legislation that accords rights to a foetus to protect the notion of potential rights in certain instances such as criminal cases. I believe that South Africa needs to develop legislation to that effect so as to accord a form of protection to a viable foetus. In according such protection there must be limitations established so that we do not impose on a women’s constitutional rights. The age of viability (where the foetus is able to survive outside the mother’s womb, usually at 24 weeks of pregnancy) of a foetus is of paramount importance to determine when there can be a limitation of rights.