DA condemns forced contraception of female medical students

Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

The DA condemns the Department of Health’s intention to forcefully implant contraceptives into 12 female medical students destined for pharmaceutical and ultra-sonography studies at India’s Manipal University.

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo made the announcement at a recent farewell dinner for the students where he demonstrated where the contraceptive would be implanted; saying it would prevent pregnancies for a period of three years. It seems that the female students’ scholarships were contingent on them accepting the implants.

According to South Africa’s Bill of Rights, every person is afforded the right to make their own choices in decisions concerning reproduction and has complete control over what happens to their bodies. Dhlomo – with the support of premier Senzo Mchunu – has  decided that that these students should not be afforded such rights and this cannot go unchallenged.

The Premier and the MEC does not have the right to dictate to young women how to manage their bodies.

The DA agrees that the girls should use contraceptives if they do not want to fall pregnant. But the state cannot force people to accept an invasive medical procedure like this.

I have therefore written to Dhlomo to seek clarity on this initiative. Have the women been forced into this? And if so, the MEC is in contravention of the Bill of Rights. He needs to explain himself.