Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Audrey E. Haroz

First Page



South Africa's Bill of Rights is one of the most liberal and elaborate in the world. Consequently, South Africa is at the forefront of defining human rights for individuals, especially women. Concurrently, international law is slowly undergoing a reconceptualization of human rights documents and guarantees to define a more definitive, protective, and pro-active body of rights for women.

By upholding the constitutionality of the 1996 Abortion Act, South Africa can define its own Bill of Rights in liberal terms and ensure that the South African Constitution continues to receive a broad interpretation. A welcome result would be the improvement of black women's status in South African society. South Africa further has the opportunity to be at the forefront of an emerging trend in international law. This trend is beginning to recognize the special abuses women face and the need for the protection of bodily integrity and reproductive freedom. South Africa's affirmative recognition of this emerging trend could provide the impetus for other countries to recognize such rights in international law.