South African Constitution

Box 11


To make the transformation to a democratic state, the Republic of South Africa in 1993 established a Constitutional Assembly made up of the 400 members of the National Assembly and the 90 members of the Senate. All meetings were open to the press and the public. The Assembly organized a multimedia advertising campaign and education programme, hearings and public meetings (particularly in rural and disadvantaged communities). Over 1.7 million public submissions to the constitutional process were received.

The Constitution, as adopted by the Constitutional Assembly on 8 May 1996 and amended on 11 October 1996, includes explicit guarantees of reproductive health:

"12. . . . (2) Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right: a. to make decisions concerning reproduction; b. to security in and control over their body; and c. not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent."

"27. (1) Everyone has the right to have access to: a. health care services, including reproductive health care."