The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996 (Choice Act) of South Africa establishes specific provisions regarding the necessary requirements for a woman to be able to terminate a pregnancy. With limited exceptions, section 5(2) of the Choice Act makes informed consent of the pregnant woman the sole requirement for the termination of her pregnancy during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, Section 5(3) of the Choice Act provides that pregnant women under 18 years of age should be advised to consult with parents, guardians, family members, or friends before the pregnancy is terminated. However, the final decision on whether to undertake such consultations is left the individual.

In 2000, the petitioner, Christian Lawyers’ Association of South Africa, requested that the South Africa High Court hold as unconstitutional sections 5(2) and 5(3) of the Choice Act. The petitioner argued that women under 18 years old are not capable of giving informed consent to terminate their pregnancies, and therefore other requirements were necessary, such as: (a) the consent of the parents or guardians; (b) consulting the parents or guardians; (c) undergoing counselling; and (d) reflecting on their decision or decisions for a prescribed period.