Pro-life Witnessing and your Legal Rights


Co-ordinator of the Cape Town campaign, Colette Thomas said: “One of the staff approached us. She asked us not to mention her name but could we please keep her in prayer because she is resigning and she does not know how she is going to feed her children. She did not want the staff to know yet but she said it so loud that the whole office heard about her resigning.”

Thomas said another key staff member is also showing signs of discomfort about working at the abortion centre.

Participants in the 40 Days for Life campaign in Cape Town commit to join the vigil for specified prayer slots. They are praying for an end of abortion in South Africa, for the closure of the abortuary and for the hearts of clinic staff to change. Contact Colette Thomas to sign up for a slot: 083 412 4936, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,

Abortuaries in Pietermaritzburg Shut Down After United Protest

Rev Derrick King of Christians for Truth in Claridge said that several churches in Pietermaritzburg from Roman Catholics to Pentecostals united to close the Nightingale Family Planning Clinic in 1998. “When women came to the clinic, we offered to help them or adopt their babies,” says Rev King. The abortuary started to suffer financially and sued Rev King for loss of business, but the court ruled that pro-lifers had a right to peaceful protest. Eventually, the abortionist went bankrupt because of lack of customers and eventually closed down. “Afterwards many mothers thanked us for saving their children. They said that they had not known there were people offering alternatives to abortion,” says King. Rev King said that a key factor in their success were those who prayed day and night for its closing.

In 2001 Marie Stopes Family Planning Clinic moved out of Pietermaritzburg. An abortionist working at Marie Stopes admitted to Rev King that the move was due to financial reasons. A number of demonstrations were arranged by Christians for Truth outside the Marie Stopes abortuary. Sadly, another Marie Stopes has subsequently opened up in Pietermaritzburg.

Irate Abortionists

Abortionists usually call the police when pro-lifers demonstrate, or conduct sidewalk counselling, outside their abortuaries. They will claim that we are “intimidating” their customers with our placards and praying, or singing.

Abortionists hate losing business as a result of loving, prayerful pro-life witness!

Ignorant Law Enforcers

However, pro-lifers have frequently been told by ill-informed police that they are not allowed to demonstrate in that spot, or to distribute tracts. Frequently, the police who are sent to investigate are not aware of the Constitutional Right to demonstrate or the Regulation of Gatherings Act.

Constitutional Rights

You have a Constitutional Right to march or demonstrate (picket) on public property. According to Section 17 of the Bill of Rights: “ Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.” This compliments the Freedom of Religion and Conscience (Section 15): “Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion. Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that (a) those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities; (b) they are conducted on an equitable basis; and (c) attendance at them is free and voluntary.”

You also have the Right to distribute pamphlets or tracts on public property, as long as you are not littering. Under Freedom of Expression (Section 16), you have the freedom to: “receive or impart information or ideas”. No municipal or Community Improvement District personnel can restrict you from handing out tracts on a public sidewalk or street.

Gatherings Act

According to the Regulations of Gatherings Act (1993), a gathering is defined as “15 or more people”. If you are planning a demonstration or march, you are required to notify your local municipality, traffic officers and police. They will then issue you with a permit. However, if you have less than 15 people, you are not required to notify the government officials, but take copies of the relevant legislation with you to show any police officers on patrol. Christian Action can send you these. You may only be arrested for loitering if you are being a danger to yourself or others, or are being a public nuisance.

Demonstrations Outside Abortuaries

The only restriction (apart from the ones mentioned above), is that according to the Abortion Act (1996), you may not obstruct the entrance to an abortuary.

Cape Town

The City of Cape Town has unfortunately specified in Human Life International’s permit for monthly prayer vigils outside Marie Stopes, that they must stand to the opposite side of the street from the entrance or further up Bree Street (due to the fact that there are over 15 people). There is no law however, that specifies how many metres any other demonstrators must be from the entrance.

Speak Up For Those Who Cannot Speak for Themselves

One of the most urgent and important issues confronting the Church today is the right to life of pre-born babies. It is an urgent priority for Christians to expose, oppose and end this war against children made in the image of God. Could you not do more to save lives and stop abortions in your city?

"Rescue those who are led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter" Proverbs 24:11

See also related items:

You Can Stop Abortions and Save Lives
Support a Crisis Pregnancy Centre Near You
Sanctity Life Sunday Information & Resources from Africa Christian Action
Scriptural Imprecatory Prayer Proclamation Against Abortion
Sanctity Life Prayer of Repentance
Do Christians Care?
Operation Nehemiah
National Repentance

Taryn Hodgson

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 -
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