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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Camilla Pickles

du Toit-Prinsloo, L Pickles, C & Saayman, G (2016). Managing the Remains of Foetuses and Abandoned Infants – A Call to Urgently Review South African Law and Medico-legal Practice. South African Medical Journal 106(6): 578-581.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This article reviews South African (SA) law and its impact on the medicolegal management of fetal remains emanating from elective and therapeutic termination of pregnancies, stillbirths and miscarriages and the remains of abandoned or exposed infants. It was found that remains are treated differently, some constituting medical waste while others have sufficient status in law to allow for burial. This approach results in some women or couples being denied a choice with regard to disposal via culturally relevant practices, and is insensitive to the fact that all remains ultimately constitute human remains. The article argues that SA law is in urgent need of reform, and turns to foreign law and forensic practice to shed light on possible alternative approaches that could assist with developing the SA position and thereby improve the practical management of fetal and infant remains in SA.